Stroke survivors need support
Sir, – As a stroke survivor, I very much welcome the latest report from the National Office of Clinical Audit, which states that the risk of a patient dying in hospital from stroke has fallen significantly over the past decade.
I agree that dedicated stroke units have contributed greatly to the reduction in death rates for stroke and also the availability of clot-busting drugs in the initial treatment of patients with ischaemic stroke.
I would hope, however, that the dedicated stroke units are made available to those who suffer a stroke and are not otherwise occupied, as was the case when I suffered my stroke. It was on my third admission as a result of complications from the stroke before I gained admission to the stroke unit.
Dedicated stroke units should be just that and not used for other purposes.
I had the opportunity to meet Minister for Health Simon Harris to discuss general issues around stroke treatment and after-care and I made the point about dedicated stroke units to him. I also pointed out to the Minister the deficits that exist in community rehabilitation and support services and how many stroke survivors feel abandoned at the hospital gates, with survivors returning home with little or no support.
While it is great to see the latest report from the National Office of Clinical Audit, we should not lose sight of the fact that survivors need to be supported through community rehabilitation or through early supported discharge.
Many stroke survivors have no voice, either as a result of their condition or else not being able to access information, and therefore it is critical that those of us who can advocate for them do so. Along with the above, the completion of the National Stroke Strategy and the provision of funding for a public awareness promotional campaign should be priorities for the Minister. – Yours, etc,