Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board is launching a Stroke Improvement Programme which includes opening three stroke rehabilitation centres and new prevention, diagnosis and monitoring services.
The programme has received over £3million in funding, and will open three new rehabilitation centres across North Wales, for patients who no longer need specialist medical care in acute hospitals, but still require stroke rehabilitation that cannot be delivered at home.
The purpose of the new specialist community in-patient rehabilitation centres is to bridge the current gap in post-stroke care giving people who have suffered a stroke maximum opportunity to recover and adapt in the best possible modern environment.
Rob Smith, Stroke Improvement Programme Director, said: “This is a fantastic programme and a really important development in stroke care for the people of North Wales. The new developments will build on the existing services provided by our specialist hospital stroke staff.
“This a multi-phased project with the new services to be launched as the programme is rolled out.”
Specialist rehabilitation is widely recognised as an essential part of recovery after stroke, providing significant health and social care benefits for patients over the longer term. The first centre is planned to open in Ysbyty Eryri, Caernarfon, in early spring, with another two centres planned for Central and East North Wales.
The programme also includes a new preventative service, where newly recruited stroke specialists will work with GPs to screen patients who may be showing signs that they may have a stroke in the future.
Gareth Bowdler, Medical Director (East), said: “Ever since the Interstroke study in 2016 was carried out we have known that about 90% of strokes are attributable to 10 modifiable risk factors, and working collaboratively with GPs we will aim to reduce the incidence of stroke by focussing on these risk factors.”
The prevention service will include improving atrial fibrillation (AF) detection, an abnormal heart rhythm in patients, and robust monitoring of people with the condition, as according to the Stroke Association AF contributes to just under 20% of all strokes in the UK. The Health Board is working with Stroke Association and Stroke Survivors group to develop the new improvement programme.
The programme will also start an Early Supported Discharge service, the first in North Wales, which will help patients recover at home, rather than in hospital or a clinical setting. The service will provide specialist stroke recovery support at home, reducing time spent in hospital by 37% of current stroke patients, leading to an increased independence and improved recovery.