Stroke care ‘depends on location’ – CQC report

The standard care afforded to stroke survivors in England is dependant on where they live, according to research.

Despite the Government’s desire for people to be treated in the community instead of in hospital, researchers discovered that the right services do not always exist to support them.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) compiled the report and revealed that some people have no access at all to specialist rehabilitation stroke services.

Every year around 80,000 people are admitted to hospitals in England following strokes, with most patients being forced to wait two weeks for community-based speech and language therapy after returning home. Results from the study show that almost half (48%) of the country’s regions impose the fortnight-long wait on stroke patients.

Meanwhile, only 37% of areas provide the proper support for people to be discharged earlier from hospital.

Some 32% of primary care trusts (PCTs) did not commission stroke physiotherapy in the community, while in 44% of areas occupational therapy was not always given by staff trained in strokes.

The study also found that a third of PCTs do not offer specialist stroke physiotherapy and less than 40% of areas have good access to psychological therapy or stroke counsellors.

CQC chief executive Cynthia Bower said: “Stroke is the single largest cause of disability in adults and our evidence shows that early access to intense rehabilitation is beneficial to people’s recovery.

“Services have made improvements over recent years in the care provided in the hours and days that follow their stroke.

“It is vital that this momentum is maintained and that improvements are made in the care and support provided in the longer term.”