Improving stroke services

We need a National Stroke Strategy

The Irish Heart Foundation is dedicated to reducing the rate of death and severe disability from stroke and we regularly lobby the government in relation to this aim.

National Stroke Audit – the results and need for rehabilitation services

In January 2016 the Irish Heart Foundation partnered with the HSE National Stroke Programme to launch the second ever national audit of stroke services.

The audit revealed that the death rate from stroke in Ireland has been cut by more than a quarter and the rate of direct discharge to nursing homes has almost halved in the last seven years. However, despite the Stroke Programme’s success in developing services, many stroke deaths remain preventable, whilst a high proportion of stroke survivors continue to suffer undue disability in terms of both severity and length of time due to inadequate rehabilitation services.


Minimum standards of service need to be met

Following the report’s publication, the Irish Heart Foundation called for extra investment to ensure that nobody who has a stroke in Ireland dies because services fail to meet minimum standards. We also highlighted the need to develop rehabilitation services to ensure that the recovery of patients is not squandered after so much skill and commitment is deployed to save their lives.

Read a copy of the Irish Heart Foundation’s Council on Stroke national guidelines for the care of people with stroke and transient ischaemic attack.


Early Supported Discharge is hugely effective for everyone

Early Supported Discharge aims to speed up discharge from hospital by providing rehabilitation while the patient lives at home. A major goal of rehabilitation is to facilitate re-adaptation to the home environment and being at home is the best place to learn such skills.

The findings of the report provide the economic justification for the rapid development of Ireland’s community rehabilitation and care services for the benefit of people who have been deprived of vital services to boost their quality of life.

Up to 44% of stroke patients could benefit from Early Supported Discharge, yielding net savings estimated at €2million to €7million each year. Early Supported Discharge could save more money in reduced length of hospital stay – €12 million – than would need to be reinvested in developing community rehabilitation (€5-€10 million). The report also shows that Early Supported Discharge could free up over 24,000 hospital beds annually.

Factors Related to Return to Work after Stroke

Just one in three young stroke survivors (under 65) return to work in the first-year post stroke and many lack access to vital recovery services such as physiotherapy and counselling. “Exploring the factors related to return to work after stroke”, launched in January 2016, explores the factors supporting and preventing a return to work following a stroke in Ireland.


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