Stroke patients feel 'abandoned' after hospital discharge

Stroke Association survey shows that stroke survivors lack the right support to begin their rehabilation when they leave hospital

People who have survived stroke say they feel abandoned when they leave hospital – and one third are discharged without a care plan.

The Stroke Association questioned 1,174 patients in England for a survey about their experience of stroke care and support.

Almost half of stroke survivors feel abandoned when they leave hospital and 39% reported leaving without a care plan.

Some 47% of patients said they were not contacted by a healthcare professional when they returned home from hospital and 39% did not receive a six-month assessment of their health and social care needs.

Stroke Association chief executive Jon Barrick said: ‘These findings are deeply concerning. Currently, too many stroke survivors feel abandoned when they return home as they are not given the right support to begin their rehabilitation.’

Stroke strategy campaign

The Stroke Association is launching a major campaign calling on the government to commit to a new stroke strategy. The current ten-year national stroke strategy for England ends in 2017.

University of Central Lancashire professor Caroline Watkins – the only nursing professor of stroke care in the UK – said: ‘Hospital nursing care of stroke patients has vastly improved. However, some aspects of care remain poorly addressed and have an impact on long-term recovery and wellbeing. 

‘For example, continence promotion is poorly implemented, and so many stroke survivors end up with incontinence.

'Not only is incontinence distressing and embarrassing, it is a key determinant of whether people end up going back to their own home or end up in a nursing home.

'Once home there are some community support services to support incontinence, but these are often about managing the problem, rather than promoting continence.’

Professor Watkins added that psychological support should be started early to prevent depression and help people adjust following a stroke.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: ‘Action is being taken to ensure the progress made in the national stroke strategy continues so that clinical care for stroke patients is of the highest quality.

'We know that good progress has been made, with mortality rates decreasing.

‘NICE has developed guidelines for social care so that staff and providers have clear standards, and we expect them to be followed.’

Further information
The Stroke Association campaign