Last updated 21 July 2021
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.
You may have seen stories in the media about a possible link between stroke and coronavirus (COVID-19). However, we still believe we need detailed information from larger groups of patients to confirm this link. We are working with stroke researchers and healthcare professionals to understand coronavirus and its effects, and we will continue to analyse new findings when they are published. You can read more here.
Stroke survivors and COVID-19
Having a stroke means you are at greater risk of getting complications like pneumonia if you have COVID-19. Everyone is different, and if you have other health conditions, you also need to check how this affects you.
Although many restrictions have now been lifted, the public is still being asked to follow the latest advice on staying safe. People in an extremely vulnerable group will still need to follow specific advice from the NHS about their health condition.
Advice for everyone
You can also read our information on stroke and the coronavirus vaccine.
While legally mandated social distancing and work from home measures have now been lifted, employers still have a legal responsibility to protect their employees and others from risks to their health and safety. The government website provides more information about this, as well as the support that may be available if you're unable to work.
If you're worried about the lifting of restrictions, the NHS has produced a guide to coping with anxiety about lockdown lifting.
People at increased risk from COVID-19: clinically extremely vulnerable people
Earlier in the pandemic, people who had been identified as being clinically extremely vulnerable were told to shield. Although stroke was not a condition that meant you had to shield, lots of stroke survivors have other conditions which meant they did. This advice has now been lifted. If you have a reduced immune response, for example, if you are immunocompromised or have particular cancers, you should return to any advice on keeping safe that you were given before the pandemic.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19
The main symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- A new continuous cough.
- A high temperature.
- A loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia).
For advice on what to do if you have symptoms, visit NHS online information about 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.
Stroke symptoms and COVID-19
If you have coronavirus, and you start having stroke symptoms, call 999. Also, tell the paramedics if you think you have 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 COVID-19. Read more about symptoms of TIA.
Attending a follow-up appointment for TIA
If you start showing signs of 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 or self-isolating, 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 can’t leave home because of a stroke or for other reasons, 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 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-19 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 WhatsApp to link up the main people who can support you.
Some supermarkets may continue to prioritise online delivery slots for people in high-risk groups. Contact your usual shop to find out what help they offer.
Professional carers are able to visit people at home to provide 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 our advice and information. We're also working with the NHS to help people recently discharged from the hospital after a stroke.
Call 0303 3033 100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Regular opening times:
- Monday to Friday: 9.00am – 4.00pm
- Saturday: 10.00am – 1.00pm
Stroke survivors and carers can follow our updates about 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 a stroke on our website. Our online self-management tool, My Stroke Guide, lets you speak to other stroke survivors and carers online.
Our stroke clubs and groups
Stroke support groups offer peer support to stroke survivors, carers, family and friends. Many groups are not currently meeting face to face. But they are providing support in other ways, like online choir sessions and telephone calls. See what’s available in your local area.
Carers UK provides some great advice for carers about coronavirus, including staying safe and planning ahead.