Column: More help needed in the community for stroke survivors

The Stroke Association provides support and information to stroke survivors and their families
The Stroke Association provides support and information to stroke survivors and their families

Stroke survivors’ chances of making the best recovery is being put at significant risk due to insufficient data on the availability of rehabilitation therapy after stroke.

To mark European Stroke Awareness Day on May 8 and Make May Purple for Stroke (the UK’s stroke awareness month), the Stroke Association in Scotland is again calling on the Scottish Government to take action around the lack of information relating to the availability and use of stroke rehabilitation services in hospitals and local communities.

Without this information, the charity simply doesn’t know what support stroke survivors are receiving, especially after discharge from hospital.

Discussions with people who have been affected by stroke suggests they are not getting what they need –which puts their recoveries at risk.

Stroke is the leading cause of disability in the UK affecting mobility, speech, memory, emotions and behaviour.

The devastating impact is that many people are unable to go back to work, live in the same house or lead the life they used to.

Rehabilitation helps people get back to independence and regain the everyday abilities and skills they had before.

Physiotherapy, occupational therapy or speech and language therapy can help people affected by stroke to relearn basic skills such as how to walk, talk, wash and dress.

After leaving hospital, it’s vital that this rehabilitation continues to support the journey back to independence.

The Scottish Government’s Stroke Improvement Plan acknowledges the importance of rehabilitation and support for people after stroke.

However, data collection in this area is seriously lacking. It is still the case that not everyone gets the help and support they need and much more still needs to be done.

We don’t have the data and information to demonstrate what rehabilitation services are available and where, and who is accessing and for how long. We need this information to understand where the gaps are, to drive forward the necessary improvements.

That’s why we are today calling on the Scottish Government to routinely collect and publish details of the rehabilitation stroke survivors in Scotland 
receive.

The Stroke Association provides information and support to anyone who has been affected by stroke via the Stroke Helpline on 0303 3033 100 or by visiting the website www.stroke.org.uk/independence.