Last updated 18 May 2020

This information has been produced jointly by NHS England and the Stroke Association. It is for all stroke survivors in the UK. As the situation changes, we will update these web pages regularly.

The Stroke Association can support you with information and advice on stroke. Call our Helpline on 0303 3033 100. If you need medical advice about coronavirus, please visit the NHS Coronavirus webpage.

Stroke is still a medical emergency. So if you have any signs of a stroke, don't wait, call 999. 

Hospitals are working in new ways to give treatment and post-stroke care, and reduce the risk of infection. Read our information for people who have recently had a stroke.

To find out what we’re doing as an organisation, including pausing all our events and groups in the community, you can read this note from our Chief Executive Juliet Bouverie. 

Stroke survivors and coronavirus (COVID-19)

Having a stroke means you are at greater risk of getting complications like pneumonia if you have coronavirus (COVID-19). Everyone is different, and if you have other health conditions, you also need to check how this affects you.

At the moment, we are all being asked to follow government guidance on staying safe. People in an extremely vulnerable group will need to follow the specific advice about their health condition. 

Staying safe

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Advice for everyone

We all need to follow the latest government guidance on staying safe from coronavirus (COVID-19). This advice applies in England. There is separate guidance for people in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland

People who work are being asked to work from home where possible. If you can't work from home because of the nature of your job, and you are unable to carry on working, help is available. If you are employed, speak to your employer. You can find information about employment and financial support for all workers and people on low incomes.

People at increased risk of complications from coronavirus (COVID-19)

Some people are at greater risk from complications, including stroke survivors. Stroke survivors may also belong to some of the other higher-risk groups. These include people aged 70 or over, and people with health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory disease. In the government guidance, these are known as 'clinically vulnerable people'.

It’s important for stroke survivors to follow the latest advice on staying safe.

Extremely vulnerable people and shielding

If you’re in an extremely vulnerable group, you will be contacted about what to do. This includes people with severe respiratory disease, people with heart transplants and those on medication that affects your immune system.

You will need to follow the latest government guidance for people in the extremely vulnerable group. This explains the steps you need to take to reduce your risk of infection, known as shielding. If you live with others, you might need to separate yourself and follow advice on how to stay safe at home.

You can register as extremely vulnerable to get extra support such as help with delivery of essential supplies and medicine. If you're not sure if you belong to this group, register to find out if you can get help. 

If you think you belong to this group and have not been contacted, get in touch with your GP or the hospital team treating you.

Public Health England has produced easy-read information about extremely vulnerable people and shielding.

If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)

The main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are:

  • A high temperature.
  • A new, continuous cough.
  • Anosmia (sudden loss of your sense of smell or taste).

For advice on what to do if you have symptoms, visit NHS online information about coronavirus (COVID-19). This will also tell you what to do if you have been in contact with someone who has the virus. You can apply for a coronavirus test online.

Read the latest guidance on how to self-isolate, and how long for.

Help with symptoms

You don’t need to contact 111 if you have symptoms. But you should use the NHS online coronavirus service if:

  • You feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home.
  • Your condition gets worse.
  • Your symptoms do not get better after seven days.

Call 111 if you can’t use the online service.

Please do not go to your GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital in person. Look online or phone for advice. In an emergency, call 999

Stroke symptoms and coronavirus (COVID-19)

If you have coronavirus, and you start having stroke symptoms, call 999. Also, tell the paramedics if you think you have coronavirus (COVID-19).

You can read more about the FAST test for stroke and transient ischaemic attack (TIA).

Transient ischaemic attack (TIA) 

If you have stroke symptoms that last a short time, call 999. If the symptoms were a few days ago, call 111. Also, tell the call handler if you think you have coronavirus (COVID-19). Read more about symptoms of TIA

Attending a follow-up appointment for TIA

If you start showing signs of coronavirus (COVID-19) before an appointment to assess your TIA symptoms, contact the clinic or GP by phone or email to let them know. Don’t go in person. You may be able to have a later appointment. Or you may be able to have a remote appointment by phone or video call. 

What help is available for stroke survivors?

  
Help if you can’t leave home

If you are staying at home after a stroke, are self-isolating or shielding, there are some ways you can get help and support. It’s not always easy to find out what is available to you or someone you care for, so we’ve compiled a list of options to try.

  • If you are shielding, you can register online to get practical support. This includes help such as deliveries of food and medicine, and telephone support.

  • If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), you can sign up to get texts from the NHS. These will offer advice, and link you to sources of information and support.

  • If you can’t leave home because of a stroke or you’re in another high-risk group, you may be able to get help, such as deliveries of food, medicine and medical equipment. You can be referred by a professional such as a doctor, pharmacist or social worker. If you have a Stroke Association coordinator, they can refer you.

  • In England, you can request help by calling the NHS Volunteer Responder service on 0808 196 3646. The Red Cross has a Coronavirus Support Line on 0808 196 3651.

  • In Scotland, there is a National Assistance Helpline on 0800 111 4000 with more support listed on the Ready Scotland website.

  • In Northern Ireland, the Advice NI website has a postcode search for help in your area. You can contact the COVID-19 Community Helpline Helpline on 0808 802 0020, by texting ACTION to 81025 or email Covid19@adviceni.net.

  • In Wales, contact your local authority to ask about community assistance.

  • Local volunteer groups have been set up in many areas. These have different titles such as mutual aid, community response and COVID support groups. The main resource for finding local mutual aid groups is COVID-19 Mutual Aid UK. Contact your local group or local council to ask what help you can get.​

  • Contact your local council to ask what help is available near you.

  • Ask friends, family and neighbours for help such as collecting groceries or medicines. People are often keen to help, so don’t be afraid to ask. Try setting up a group on What’s App to link up the main people who can support you.

  • Some supermarkets are prioritising online delivery slots for people in high-risk groups. Contact your usual shop to find out what help they offer.

  • Professional carers are still able to visit people at home providing meals and personal care. But some people are worried about having carers visiting in case it adds to their risk of infection. This can be a difficult decision to make. Carers UK has online resources and advice, and you can call our Helpline for someone to talk to. You can also visit our free online stroke community My Stroke Guide to find out how other stroke survivors and carers are doing.

Support from the Stroke Association

We offer support to stroke survivors through our local services and groups, plus information and grants. We're also working with the NHS to help people recently discharged from hospital after a stroke.

Stroke Helpline

Call 0303 3033 100 or email helpline@stroke.org.uk.

Regular opening times:

  • Monday, Thursday and Friday: 9am – 5pm
  • Tuesday and Wednesday: 8am – 6pm
  • Saturday: 10am – 1pm
  • Sunday: Closed

Stroke survivors and carers can follow our updates about coronavirus (COVID-19) on this website. If you’re in touch with a Stroke Association Coordinator or being cared for by a community stroke team, contact them for information.

You can find information and practical advice about life and wellbeing after stroke on our website, including tips on managing loneliness and isolation. Our online self-management tool, My Stroke Guide, lets you speak to other stroke survivors and carers online.

Our stroke clubs and groups

Our stroke clubs and groups are pausing, to support the government advice on staying at home. Please email clubtogether@stroke.org.uk to find out what peer support is available in your local area.

Carers

Carers UK provides some great advice for carers about coronavirus, including staying safe and planning ahead. 

Easy-read resources

People with aphasia may find these easy-read resources helpful.

We'd like to thank Easy Read Online for allowing us to use their resources.