Stroke survivors entering care homes are missing out on crucial rehabilitation and being ‘written off’, the Stroke Association and Chartered Society of Physiotherapy are warning today.
A survey(i) for the two organisations found that 3 in 5 care homes are not following National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines that the needs of a stroke survivor must be assessed by a specialist within 72 hours of admission.
Around 8,000 people are discharged from hospital to a care home after a stroke(ii) every year. Without specialist assessments many of them will not get access to the therapies they need.
A report(iii) from the Centre for Policy on Ageing says that stroke is the second most common neurological condition among care home residents, after dementia.
Patrick Olszowski, Stroke Association’s Head of Policy and Campaigns said: “Stroke survivors in care homes are frequently good candidates for rehabilitation. Yet all too often they’re not getting services vital to their recovery and quality of life because they are not properly assessed.
“At present neither the health system nor care homes are clear as to whose responsibility it is to ensure these assessments happen. People in care homes are in the greatest need of support, services like physiotherapy can make a world of difference. We are urging those who plan and provide health and care to take action and ensure stroke survivors are assessed and their needs met. Having a stroke is bad enough, being written off is worse.”
The survey found that four out of five care home representatives agreed that services like physiotherapy improve stroke survivors’ ability to regain and maintain a good quality of life. However, the CSP and Stroke Association say even a short delay in therapy can quickly reverse the improvements made whilst in hospital and functions deteriorate.
Sue Rees, chair of council of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, said:
“A delay in continuing with physiotherapy after discharge from hospital can limit a person’s rehabilitation potential and reduce their quality of life in the longer-term.
“This is disastrous for the individual and can increase costs for health and social care providers, when early access to treatment could have ensured a better outcome for less.
“It is essential that commissioners provide sufficient community physiotherapy services to ensure no-one is written off in this way and that all stroke survivors are given every opportunity to make the best possible recovery.”