Neurorehabilitation teams required for people living with stroke and other neurological conditions

By Leanne Dempsey Policy News   |   10th Mar 2023

Pictured L-R are: Pauline O’Shea, Advocacy Campaign Manager, Irish Heart Foundation and Fiona Bardon, Stroke Patient Advocate in front of Leinster House

The Neurological Alliance of Ireland (NAI), of which the Irish Heart Foundation is a member, held a briefing event yesterday, March 9th, at Leinster House, for Oireachtas members, where a fresh appeal was made for the implementation of the full-scale community neurorehabilitation teams promised by Government in 2019, for the 800,000 people in Ireland living with neurological conditions, many of whom have experienced stroke.

Currently, there are only two community neurorehabilitation teams in Ireland, despite nine teams being recommended, one for each CHO around the country, in the Implementation Framework (2019-2021) for the National Neurorehabilitation Strategy. This means that only 15% of neurological patients in Ireland have access to teams that provide vital care to support their recovery.

The neurorehabilitation teams in the community would provide crucial, specialist therapy supports, including physiotherapy, speech and language, and occupational therapy, as well as neuropsychology for adults with neurological conditions living in the community.

For people living with acquired conditions such as stroke and brain injury, these teams allow them to leave hospitals more quickly to continue their recovery at home, reducing the need for longer-term care while receiving necessary care close to where they live.

Dr. Rachael Doyle, Consultant in Geriatric Medicine at St. Vincent’s University Hospital, and Chair of the Irish Heart Foundation Stroke Council was one of a panel of four medical consultants in attendance, advocating for these centres at the event. Irish Heart Foundation Advocacy Campaign Manager, Pauline O’Shea and stroke patient advocate, Fiona Bardon, represented the organisation’s stroke patients on the day.

Fiona, was one of the many patients who contributed to the appeal to TDs to advocate for the implementation plan to be actioned as soon as possible so that stroke patients did not have to experience long delays in accessing rehabilitation services, which could have a detrimental effect on the progression of their physical and psychological recovery.

The event concluded with politicians, including Social Democrats TD, Roisin Shorthall and Sinn Fein TD, Louise O’Reilly agreeing that supporting this endeavour and implementing these centres as soon as possible was vital.

More information on the Patients Deserve Better campaign can be viewed here. #PatientsDeserveBetter


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