Lydia Lockhart is a Stroke Coordinator for Southampton, who specialises in health promotion and engagement.
My job is one of two halves: one is 'stroke health promotion' and the other is 'stroke survivor/carer engagement'. The health promotion part of my role is similar to that of a Stroke Ambassador. I'm always on the lookout for events that I can attend with a stall to offer blood pressure checks, as well as community groups that I can visit to offer stroke prevention and awareness talks. I also try and connect with workplaces across the city, offering to visit their offices for blood pressure checks. I often link in with my fundraising colleague, Tammy Angus, so she can get them to fundraise for us as well!
With my 'stroke survivor/carer engagement' hat on, I seek out feedback from stroke survivors and their carers on their experience of the stroke care pathway. This takes them from being admitted to hospital all the way through to being discharged back in to the community.
I get feedback from a number of sources, including questionnaires issued by the CST (Community Stroke Team), asking patients about their experience of the CST service, and by visiting the stroke ward at Southampton General Hospital, where I speak with patients and/or their family members. Some recurring themes include a feeling of abandonment after CST visits have come to an end, discharge delays from hospital due to medication not being organised, a lack of information about support services in the community after discharge, and carers feeling they don't have enough information about where they can go for support.
The main source of patient/carer feedback is from 'Have Your Say', an annual event that I organize within the city. Stroke survivors who've had their stroke within the past year (to ensure the feedback is current) and their carers are invited to attend and share their experiences via facilitated discussions. They listen to talks from local support organisations and chat with health professionals, who are involved in the local stroke care pathway.
All of this feedback is fed into the Public and Patient Engagement Stroke Steering Group, which I'm a member of, as well as medical professionals. We discuss what changes can be made to improve the stroke care pathway for future stroke survivors and this all goes into an action plan which is updated regularly. 'Noise at Night' standards for ward staff have been introduced with 'Relax at Night' leaflets for patients as a result, while discharge summaries are now sent electronically to the GP, along with a copy for the patient.
Last year, I was involved in the implementation of a stroke/TIA education programme, which will be set up and run by the community stroke nurses and TIA specialist nurse who are based at Southampton General Hospital. People who've had a stroke/TIA will be invited to attend the weekly sessions, which will consist of an education element (covering a different topic each week), plus an exercise element.
My role is really varied and I love having the flexibility to go out and find opportunities to further raise the awareness of the Stroke Association and the many support services that we offer, as well as the risk factors of stroke and what people can do to reduce their risk.