Stroke patients can now receive rehabilitation at home instead of in hospital thanks to the launch of a new community stroke therapy scheme.
South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has introduced an early supported discharge (ESD) service which is expected to benefit up to 40% of patients admitted to hospital with a stroke.
Staff from occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy and dietetics will visit each patient in their own home as appropriate.
Patients who are well enough will be able to return home from hospital much faster and receive up to six weeks of therapy in the familiarity and comfort of their own home. They will receive the same intensity of therapy that they would have been given in hospital.
Treatment will be based around each individual’s needs and normal routine. This may include rehabilitation for mobility, communication, swallowing difficulties, personal care and meal/drinks preparation as well as emotional support.
Director of integrated therapies Barbara Stoker said: “People’s independence matters and receiving therapy at home with an individualised plan helps the progression of their recovery and achieve the best outcomes possible.
“The ESD team will help patients to leave hospital more quickly and return to their own homes, so that they can maximise independence in their own daily routines.”
The service is supported by reablement teams from the Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland local authorities, psychology, community nursing services and the Stroke Association.
Michael Paranics of Redcar was the first patient to take advantage of the new service.
The retired ICI worker suffered a heart attack while on holiday in India in February. Following his return home and admission to The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough he was also treated for a stroke which has affected his peripheral vision.
A week later he was discharged and he is now receiving rehabilitation therapy in the comfort of his own home thanks to the new stroke ESD scheme.
Michael was only too happy to be the first to take advantage of the service: “I’m proud to be a pioneer,” he said. “Everything is familiar here and we are not limited to walking 50 yards down a busy hospital corridor. Plus I feel more at home!”
His wife Anne said having him back at home had certainly helped to speed up his recovery: “I think familiarity gives you confidence.”
In 2013, 426 people from the South Tees area were treated for stroke at The James Cook University Hospital and the number of people experiencing a stroke in the locality is projected to grow by around 12% by 2020.
Stroke rehabilitation has been highlighted as a priority area for South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group which is working hard to improve health services for the elderly and vulnerable through its IMProVE programme (Integrated Management and Proactive Care for the Vulnerable and Elderly).
From 1 April 2015 stroke services and rehabilitation teams will be centralised at Redcar Primary Care Hospital, making it a centre of excellence for stroke rehabilitation with dedicated beds, specialist staff, excellent facilities and the added support of the ESD team.