50 Shades of Abandonment

The media this week has highlighted the very real situation across the country of how stroke survivors – sadly they still refer to us as victims – are abandoned following hospital discharge. They highlight the difficulties we face once we left hospital: So many of us have to fend for ourselves, cope with disabilities, our families coping with our care and to make matters even worse we have to pay for our own physiotherapist to come to our homes!

Many are not even contacted by a doctor when they are discharged, and more than a third do not receive the six months recommended check-up. Four in ten leave hospital without any sort of care plan put in place for them. Jon Barrick, Chief executive of the Stroke Association, said the findings painted a woeful picture.

The report was based on interviews carried out with 1,209 Stroke Survivors in England and results illustrated that many were left without physiotherapists speech therapy or any other rehabilitation required to rebuild their lives. They were simply abandoned in this new lonely, scary situation they and their families found themselves in.

Around 1500 Britons have a stroke each year, a quarter die each year and half the survivors are left with disabilities that include, as we know, speech and cognitive ones.

It appears that the after care or rather lack of it is sadly also the same for heart patients. The care for both, whilst in hospital, has hugely improved over the years but then both are faced with this situation following discharge.

For stroke survivors there are clear guidelines set out by NICE, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, but the new report suggests that these are unfortunately not followed. It states that stroke survivors should have a care plan in place before they leave hospital yet 39 per cent say they did not have this. The Stroke Association is now calling for a major enquiry into stroke care. Do your bit and sign their partition to ask the government to offer this to everyone.

On a more positive note, I felt having written the blog last week it was only right I followed my own advice, as it were. Yes, I have taken to the water again, I will admit to needing a sleep immediately afterwards but after one small session alone I felt some relief from the tightness and pain I have been experiencing down on one side, particular in my shoulder. I hope it has inspired you to follow my lead and that it may prove beneficial to many of you. Happy swimming all.

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