NHS ‘lifeline’ for hundreds of stroke survivors

Hundreds of NHS patients have received personal, specialised care thanks to a new service set up during the coronavirus pandemic.

Stroke Connect, a partnership with the NHS and the Stroke Association provides stroke survivors with support and advice in the early days following hospital discharge, without having to leave the house.

Experts have said that the new offer is providing a ‘lifeline’ during the pandemic and has helped more than 500 people to rebuild their lives after having a stroke since it launched last month.

Patients are contacted for an initial call within a few days of discharge from hospital, from a trained ‘Stroke Association Connector’, an expert in supporting people after stroke.

The connector provides reassurance, support with immediate concerns and links the stroke survivor to support they can access in the long-term as part of their recovery journey as well as signposting them to other sources of support.

A further call is offered within the month to check in on the stroke survivor’s progress and identify any further support needed.

Families of a stroke survivor can also opt to receive essential information on self-management, including how to look after their own health and wellbeing.

The new service complements existing rehabilitation services and ‘life after stroke’ care, which has continued throughout the pandemic.

NHS national clinical director for stroke Dr Deb Lowe said: “As the NHS responded to the biggest health challenge in a century, treating over 108,000 people in hospitals with coronavirus, the NHS continued to deliver essential treatment to people having strokes.

“Follow up care is vital for recovery and so this new lifeline will be invaluable to support rebuilding lives after stroke.

“Please remember, if you are worried that you are having a stroke, please call 999 as your NHS is here to support you.”

Stroke survivors who feel they want to talk to somebody can also call the Stroke Association’s helpline on 0303 3033 100.

Juliet Bouverie OBE, Chief Executive of the Stroke Association said: “Stroke is the single biggest cause of adult disability in the UK, resulting in significant mental and physical challenges. We’ve been working with NHS England to improve the support stroke survivors get after leaving hospital.

“By reaching out to stroke survivors during the early days of their recovery, we can help to stop a small problem from snowballing into a crisis. I am proud that we’re able to work with the NHS to make sure that stroke survivors get help in these difficult circumstances. Following a rapid test phase in April and May 2020, we are now encouraging referrals from all areas across England where there is no existing Stroke Association Stroke Recovery Service or equivalent. Don’t miss out on this vital support.

“Stroke is a brain attack and recovery is tough. But with the right specialist support and a ton of courage and determination, the brain can adapt after stroke. During this pandemic, we are determined to make sure that stroke survivors don’t experience a crisis in their recovery. With our expertise, we are well positioned to help stroke survivors rebuild their lives.”

While some people have had reservations about seeking medical help during the pandemic, NHS England has been working with the Stroke Association during the coronavirus pandemic to encourage people who are experiencing stroke symptoms to act FAST by dialing 999 immediately.