The rate of death and permanent severe disability from stroke in Ireland has been reduced dramatically in recent years. But hundreds of people are still dying every year when their lives could be saved.
While Irish stroke services compare well internationally in the vital early period after stroke occurs, the need for action to develop rehabilitation services is particularly critical. More people than ever before are living with the effects of stroke.
The Stroke Manifesto 2017 urges Government to implement set measures that will stop avoidable death and disability from stroke. The Manifesto sets out a rationale for upfront investment in acute, rehabilitation and community services that have been proven to reduce death and disability rates among stroke patients, as well as cutting service costs. For example, whilst stroke units are twice as effective as coronary care units in reducing death and severe disability, no hospital in Ireland has a unit that’s resourced to minimum international standards.
In addition, whilst Early Supported Discharge programmes are still only being provided by a handful of Irish hospitals even though they have proven over many years in Ireland and internationally that providing therapy in patients’ own homes rather than in hospital results in better outcomes at less cost.
We are saving more lives because of acute service improvements, only to squander patients’ recoveries because we refuse to deliver the therapy services either in hospital or in the community that will help them regain their lives.
Modest additional investment in hospital and community services would have a life-changing impact on many people. And yet they continue to suffer. Even when we can prove the services they are being denied are cost effective.
Download the Stroke Manifesto 2017