Thousands of Wigan stroke survivors not given enough therapy

Stroke survivors are not getting enough therapy time
Stroke survivors are not getting enough therapy time

Thousands of stroke survivors in Wigan are being put at risk due to a lack of rehabilitation therapy after they leave hospital, new figures have revealed.

New statistics from the Stroke Association show that survivors are, on average, receiving just a third of the amount of therapy time needed to give them the best chance of recovery.

There are more than 6,300 stroke survivors living with the devastating effects of stroke in Wigan.

Rehabilitation therapy, which includes physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy, can help stroke survivors relearn basic skills such as how to walk, talk and even eat again so they can regain their independence.

NICE (National Institute for Health and Excellence) guidelines recommend at least 45 minutes, five days a week of each type of rehabilitation therapy needed by stroke survivors for as long as it’s of benefit to them. However, the Stroke Association has revealed that, on average, stroke survivors only receive around a third of that.

The finding comes from the latest Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme (SSNAP) report for 2016 to 2017 (ii) on stroke patients discharged from hospital. It shows that stroke survivors received what equates to just 16 minutes of physiotherapy, 16 minutes of occupational therapy and 12 minutes of speech and language therapy per day.

The charity is calling on local health commissioners in England to prioritise meeting the recommended standards of rehabilitation therapy to ensure that stroke survivors can make their best recovery and rebuild their lives.

Chris Larkin, Zone Director of the North at the Stroke Association, said: “These findings clearly show that the amount of rehabilitation therapy stroke survivors receive once they return home from hospital is woefully inadequate, and jeopardises their recoveries.

“Almost two thirds of stroke survivors leave hospital with a disability. For those who have been robbed of the ability to carry out simple every-day tasks, access to rehabilitation therapy can be truly life-changing, for them and their families.”

He added: “We know that some stroke survivors have resorted to paying privately for therapy as they fear for their future. But, rehabilitation therapy is an absolute necessity for stroke recovery, it should not be a luxury only available to those who can afford it.”

Stroke is the UK’s fourth biggest killer and a major cause of disability.

The Stroke Association provides information and support to anyone who has been affected by stroke via the Stroke Helpline on 0303 3033 100 or by visiting www.stroke.org.uk/independence