Every year there are approximately 152,000 strokes in the UK. As stroke survival improves and incidence falls, the longer term care of people with stroke is going to play an increasingly important part of population based stroke care. Surveys demonstrate that the longer term needs of people with stroke and their carers are not being adequately addressed, and that the majority of stroke survivors are dissatisfied with care after discharge from hospital. In theory, primary care takes over responsibility for the health care needs of stroke survivors after discharge from hospital, but in practice, many people fall through the net, with primary care failing to identify many continuing health care problems, and specialist services not formally ‘handing over’ responsibility.
The new £2m NIHR funded research programme at the Primary Care Unit, in collaboration with the University of Leicester, aims to address two of the key issues that stroke survivors identify: a feeling of abandonment after discharge; and a lack of information and knowledge about many aspects of stroke and stroke care. The team led by Professor Jonathan Mant will develop a new way for primary care services to work to enable them to meet the needs of stroke survivors after they have been discharged from specialist rehabilitation. This will include: improving communication between primary care and specialist services; structured review of patient needs; re-referral to specialist care where indicated; and a novel “Managing Life After Stroke” programme for stroke survivors and their carers.
This new programme exemplifies the value of having a strong multi-disciplinary research base at PCU, which enables us to potentially have a major impact on the well-being of stroke survivors and their carers. The new primary care approach if it works will lead to better long term meeting of patient needs, better co-ordination with specialist services, and easier mechanisms for stroke survivors to re-access specialist services if required. The ‘Managing Life After Stroke’ programme if it works will enable stroke survivors and their carers to be better informed about stroke, how to cope with its effects, and how best to reduce risk of further stroke’.
– Professor Jonathan Mant