In England, more than 100,000 people a year have a stroke. The care of stroke survivors, from diagnosis and initial management to rehabilitation and long-term management, is governed by the Department of Health's ten-year National Stroke Strategy for England, which sets out a framework for delivering effective stroke services.
Social care is funded by local authorities, with care offered according to eligibility criteria. To enable more stroke survivors to make better recoveries, we want to help health and social care work more closely together for the benefit of all stroke survivors, no matter what the survivor's age or how long ago they had a stroke.
What can stroke survivors expect?
The National Stroke Strategy included several quality markers for the care and support of people after a stroke:
- Stroke-specialised rehabilitation in hospital, immediately after transfer to home or care home, and for as long as it continues to be of benefit.
- People with very severe stroke who are not expected to recover should receive active end of life care from an appropriately skilled workforce, whether in hospital or in the community.
- After stroke, people should be offered a review of their health, social care and secondary stroke prevention needs, typically within six weeks of leaving hospital, before six months have passed and then annually. This will ensure it is possible to access further advice, information and rehabilitation where needed.
In 2010, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) produced quality standards that focus on the clinical aspects of stroke care. These include:
- All patients after stroke are screened within six weeks of diagnosis to identify mood disturbance and cognitive impairment.
- All patients discharged from hospital who have residual stroke-related problems are followed up within 72 hours by specialist stroke rehabilitation services for assessment and ongoing management.
- Carers of patients with stroke are provided with a named point of contact for stroke information, written information about the patient's diagnosis and management plan, and sufficient practical training to enable them to provide care.
Jon Barrick, Chief Executive of the Stroke Association says; "We are deeply saddened to hear about the death of Baroness Margaret Thatcher from a stroke. Our thoughts are with her family at this very sad time. Around 150,000 people have a stroke every year in the UK and approximately one in five is fatal.
There are 152,000 strokes in the UK every year. That’s more than one every five minutes. 'Feeling overwhelmed', the third report in our Life After Stroke campaign series, highlights the emotional impact of stroke on survivors, their carers and families.