Nurse Awards

Innovative stroke workshops help to reduce anxiety

Holistic workshops set up by a stroke specialist nurse to support survivors, relatives and caregivers following discharge are reducing anxiety and feelings of isolation.

Erika FrohlickErika Frohlick. Picture credit: Barney Newman

Erika Frohlick, who works for social enterprise CSH Surrey, realised that some patients did not understand their diagnosis and were scared of having another stroke. They were unsure how to cope with changes to their physical and mental health, and felt lost outside the ward environment.

The workshops Erika set up to address the problem quickly evolved from 20-minute education sessions to two-hour workshops involving clinical colleagues. Participants can influence the agenda by sharing experiences relating to mobility, diet and nutrition, speech and continence. Sessions cover topics such as occupational therapy, depression and fatigue.

Erika encourages networking because peer support can reduce patients’ feelings of isolation. Relatives and friends are also invited to the sessions.

Since 2013 Erika has supported almost 400 stroke survivors and their families, carers and friends, and her work has led to a shortlisting in the Superdrug-sponsored Community Nursing category of the RCNi Nurse Awards 2016.

An evaluation showed 93% of participants found the sessions ‘very useful’ and 76% had a better understanding of how to manage their condition.

Attendees report feeling better supported and empowered to deal with life after stroke following the workshops. Relatives and caregivers also report a better understanding of behavioural changes; they feel better able to provide the right care while encouraging their relative or patient to achieve as much as possible.

Erika FrohlickErika Frohlick leading a workshop. Picture credit: Barney Newman

Erika believes early intervention makes a big difference. She says: ‘Patients and their families and carers value the workshops because they get their questions answered and this helps to reduce anxiety. The session with the psychologist is also beneficial.

‘The information on secondary prevention is helping patients to recognise signs of a stroke and get help quickly, thus preventing longer-term impacts. We also involve the stroke support worker and stroke clubs to increase awareness.’

Julie Sylvester, editor of specialist journal Primary Health Care, was on the award shortlisting panel. She says: ‘The RCNi Nurse Awards are a wonderful way to recognise those who innovate in their practice to make a difference to patient care.

‘The standard of entries received for community nursing was exceptionally high. All the finalists showcase the best of nursing practice in the specialty and demonstrate the impact they are having on people’s lives.’

About the sponsor

Superdrug-logoSuperdrug

Superdrug’s purpose is simply to be the best in everyday accessible beauty and health. Superdrug has an estate of more than 800 stores, and employs 12,500 colleagues. At the moment, 200 stores have pharmacies, with pharmacy consulting rooms. Superdrug also has 24 stores with nurse clinics offering health checks, travel vaccinations and much more. The health and wellbeing offering ensures that Superdrug customers receive accessible, professional advice, always given in a friendly and confidential environment. Health care is an integral part of Superdrug’s business, and it is committed to offer customers the best service and advice on the high street. Find out more at superdrug.com