Stroke patients need better community care

Poor rehabilitation services are undermining improvements elsewhere in stroke care, according to new report produced by the Royal College of Physicians.

Many aspects of acute stroke care have improved, but post-acute services have not kept, the report found. In particular, there is a lack of access to long term rehabilitation services, especially those designed to help people return to work.

The report found that almost half of the hospital studies have to admit patients to non-specialist wards because of bed shortages.

Dr Tony Rudd, chairman of the Intercollegiate Stroke Working Party, said this was the most concerning aspect of the report was this 'previously unreported heavy use of intermediate care beds'.

Iintermediate care beds were being used, he said, when hospitals should be 'keeping patients in specialist stroke units or discharging them home to be managed by specialist stroke teams in the community'.

'We should be using the processes that we know from research are effective at reducing death and disability,' he added.

The report was commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership. It used data from the Sentinel Stroke Audit to investigate the follow-up care patients receive after discharge from hospital.

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