There is evidence that fewer people have been recorded to have transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or stroke during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This doesn’t mean that fewer people are having them. It means they are not being recorded. This is likely because some people are not seeking help. That’s why the Stroke Association is urging people to act fast and call 999 if they experience signs of stroke, and that’s more important than ever during these extraordinary times.
There is evidence that local rehabilitation services may have reduced, and very few face-to-face services are operating. We don’t yet know exactly what effect this may have on how people affected by stroke are coping and recovering. But we do know that this care and treatment is vital for supporting people affected by stroke to live the best lives they can.
There is evidence that those admitted to hospital with a stroke may spend less time in hospital. We don’t yet know what effect this may have on their recovery, but we know that rehabilitation treatment early in recovery is key to supporting people to rebuild their lives after stroke.
In order to understand why fewer people are being treated for stroke, and the effect of coronavirus on stroke care and treatment, we need:
- Detailed information about big groups of people affected by stroke from stroke services across the UK.
- To follow these people for some time to measure and ask them about their recovery and experience of life after stroke.
We welcome more research to address the many questions we don’t have answers for. 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.