Most stroke patients directly admitted

By Ian Dipple Friday 13 December 2013 Updated: 13/12 09:30

THE NUMBER of patients being directly admitted to a stroke ward has risen following the centralisation of the service.

Since the move was made at the end of July to treat all stroke patients at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital, there has been a significant increase in key performance areas.

Guidelines say 80 per cent of stroke patients should spend at least 90 per cent of their time on a stroke ward - a target which was being missed when the service was provided across two sites.

It has now risen from 79.1 per cent during the whole of 2012/13 to 91.5 per cent in October alone, while during the same month over 92 per cent of patients were admitted directly to a stroke ward against a target of 70 per cent. The number of TIA (mini-stroke) patients being seen by a stroke consultant within 24 hours of referral from a GP or attendance at A&E has also risen to 80.6 per cent against a target of 60 per cent.

The length of stay for stroke patients in hospital has also been reduced to on average between five or six days before they are stepped down to a nursing home, community hospital or own home for rehabilitation.

But Caroline Lister, directorate manager in medicine, said despite the initial success of the centralisation there remained “tightness along the pathway” with one major issue being getting people out of the stroke ward once they no longer required specialist care.

Discussing the case of one patient she told a recent meeting of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust’s board: “He spent four weeks on our ward from start to finish. For two weeks he was receiving acute medical intervention and stabilisation. For two of those care could have been provided elsewhere.”

She said there had been other success stories though including a man who arrived by ambulance having a stroke and was given thrombolysis and sent home within 48 hours.

While the stroke service has been centralised health bosses admit more needs to be done to improve it further while changes are also being made to community stroke services.

Chris Emerson, head of commissioning and service redesign for Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG, said investment had already been made in the rehabilitation phase of stroke patients’ treatment but work was continuing.

“Commissioners continue to work with all providers to ensure stroke services are seamless and that patients transfer as speedily as possible to the most appropriate care setting.”

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