Updated: 10 July 2020
As restrictions continue to ease across the UK, we are turning our attention to how we can continue to support stroke survivors under the ‘new normal’. Our priority continues to be meeting the needs of people affected by stroke. We aim to balance this with protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of our staff and volunteers.
We continue to support people who have had a stroke via telephone or virtually. Our Stroke Helpline is still open on 0300 3300 740. And if you’ve had a stroke, or care for someone who has, our Here for You telephone service will pair you up with a volunteer who can call you regularly for support, or just a chat. Thank you to NHS England and other funders for supporting this new service and to those who have supported us in the community – we rely on your help.
For additional information and support, do join our online community: My Stroke Guide. You can also find information about stroke and coronavirus and a range of fantastic resources, including staying active videos and information about managing loneliness and isolation.
Our Stroke Association Connect service, funded by the NHS, has been developed for newly diagnosed stroke survivors, who are more likely to have been discharged from hospital earlier during the COVID-19 pandemic. The service means we can get in touch with those new stroke survivors as soon as they leave hospital, to see how they’re getting on and make sure they know they’re not on their own after stroke.
To ensure the safety of the people we support and our staff and volunteers, we’re not expecting to be delivering any home visits until August at the earliest, and then only to those who can’t be supported remotely. We’re equipping all our front-line staff with the PPE they’ll need to ensure that, when the time comes, they can do this safely. And as we learn from our staff, we’ll begin to support any volunteers who want to begin doing some face-to-face volunteering too.
We’re unlikely to restart any of our face-to-face groups until October at the earliest. While the number of coronavirus cases continues to drop, the risk that coronavirus poses to public health has not passed. And we continue to take this seriously; particularly as so many of the stroke survivors we support are vulnerable to coronavirus. I know this will be disappointing to many of the people we support, and we’re continuing to support those groups virtually where we can. Around half of our clubs and groups across the UK are meeting virtually using platforms like Zoom or Facebook.
We continue to be thankful to the NHS for supporting stroke survivors through this crisis. Stroke is a medical emergency. And coronavirus didn’t change that. Beginning to rebuild your life after stroke in this pandemic has been very different. We recently surveyed people affected by stroke to capture experiences of stroke care and support during the pandemic. We’re analysing the results now and look forward to sharing the results later this summer.
On a personal note, I am missing the face-to-face interaction from working in an office, but we’re continuing to follow the government advice to ‘work from home where you can’. We’re unlikely to return to most of our offices until the autumn. I’m also heartened by the strength, resilience and kindness shown by our volunteers and staff during the last three months. I continue to be in awe of the passion, dedication and commitment shown by people affected by stroke, my colleagues, volunteers and the wider clinical and research stroke communities, to supporting stroke survivors to rebuild their lives, with the added challenge of a global pandemic.
Read our statement for more information about our COVID-19 risk assessment activities.
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