Each year, approximately 10,000 Irish people have a stroke and around 2,000 die – more deaths than breast cancer, prostate cancer and bowel cancer combined.
We are trying to change this through our awareness campaigns, policy solutions, recovery and Support Groups.
An estimated 30,000 people are living in the community with disabilities as a result of a stroke. This makes stroke the third biggest cause of death in Ireland and the biggest cause of acquired disability.
The Action on Stroke campaign strives to increase public and political awareness of stroke and the need for improved services. This campaign urged Government to implement the measures that will stop avoidable death and disability from stroke. These measures are contained in the Irish Heart Foundation’s Stroke Manifesto.
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.
Commissioned by the Irish Heart Foundation and prepared by the Economic Social Research Institute and the Royal College Surgeons Ireland, this report advocated that the introduction of Early Supported Discharge for stroke patients in Ireland could improve outcomes and reduce overall costs.
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.
Could save up to €7 million each year and free up 24,000 beds
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 bed annually.
Download the executive summary here.
The Irish Heart Foundation is developing a Stroke Support Group network across Ireland. Stroke support groups are local groups which provide a place for those affected by stroke to come together on a regular basis and share their experiences. Stroke support groups are a fantastic way to meet others and pool information.
Sharing solutions, advice, physio and counselling
People in the group can discuss problems they may have had and how they overcame them, giving other people a chance to use the same techniques to overcome their own problem.
The groups provide information, raise awareness and offer support and advice on stroke. Some also offer activity programmes, such as guest speakers and recreational trips and services such as physiotherapy and counselling.
If you are interested in joining a stroke support group please contact the Irish Heart Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Helena on +353 1 634 6925. The number of our stroke support groups all over Ireland is growing all the time and we’d love to hear from you.
Returning to work after a stroke is a huge challenge for people and a key step in their lives towards rebuilding their self esteem and confidence; the Irish Heart Foundation is keen to explore how people can best be supported in this journey.
The new study “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.
Key findings for people returning to work:
This study was led by the Royal College Surgeons Ireland School of Physiotherapy in conjunction with Irish Heart Foundation and the National Rehabilitation Hospital it was funded by the National Disability Authority.
Download the study here.
However, patients are still suffering due to inadequate services. Find out more about the Stroke Units and solutions for better services and staffing.Learn More