50 Shades of Waiting

 

Box of books

This week in the press it has been highlighted, what many of us are already aware of and have probably personally experienced: being let down as far as rehabilitation is concerned when patients are sent home from hospital.  Many leave hospital without proper provision in place and have to wait for months on end, some as many as four months before receiving any assistance.

We know only too well the difficulties many are faced with on the sudden onslaught of illness, such as paralysis, difficulty with daily tasks, all of which can be helped with physiotherapy.

These long delays can stall progress of patients and even potentially lead to deterioration in their condition. The Stroke Association say these findings are extremely worrying and urge health leaders to come up with a national strategy to improve stroke care for patients in England. Just 15% of patients were able to access a community based physiotherapist in less than a week after leaving hospital. Nearly half were seen in two to nine weeks. 15% were forced to wait 13 weeks and 4% were seen after 18 weeks. Every year across the UK NHS staff treat 152,000 strokes.

Andrew Marr, journalist and TV presenter, talks about his experience of physiotherapy following stroke. Andrew had a stroke in 2013 and had extensive physiotherapy to help him walk whilst in hospital for two months. He stressed that post hospital the rehab was in his words “ludicrously short.”  He stressed that stroke survivors receive a few weeks Physio when what we actually need is a few years’ help. We all know only too well, how true this is and how our needs change along the recovery journey and that recovery can continue with help and practice but as stroke survivors we need assistance from a third party to both manage and remain safe.

This type of effective rehab not only keeps us out of hospital preventing re admissions, but also gives us back some independence allowing some of us to even return back to work and the rest of us to resume more everyday activities and feel more included again.

Although sadly this is still so misunderstood, we know only too well that it is crucial we receive Physio from the offset and it continues on a long-term basis. It is vital we can access such expert advice and help to manage our condition and yet the reality, as we are only too aware of, is this could not be further removed.

The consequence of missing out on this much needed care can be, and in many cases is devastating, so it is essential that greater attention is paid to ensuring the excellence seen in some areas is available to all.

Dominic Brand, director of Marketing & External Affairs at the Stroke Association, said the latest audit from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy is extremely concerning.  It is clear many survivors are leaving hospital without the right support to begin their rehab. Many have confirmed they have had to wait months for support and therapy they need. For many their support comes too late, stops too soon or they don’t have access to all types. The Government is being urged to commit to a new national stroke strategy for England. This is the only way stroke survivors and their families will continue to have the right support and care in the future when they most need it.

We have experienced different levels regarding our rehab, and some of us may even have paid in order to continue to improve. Most of us have lost our income due to stroke; there comes a time when we need to rethink what we are paying out on our continuing efforts at improving.

You are fully aware by now I am sure that I donate some proceeds from the sale of my book to help raise awareness of stroke, to hopefully help prevent some of those strokes that can be prevented.

In addition to the above as of ‘World Stroke Day’ on the 29th October and thanks to Bayer Pharmaceutical and Sign Against Stroke, I am now able to help stroke survivors further without them having to pay. My book will be downloadable in audio version from my website and ‘Sign Against Stroke’s website and also eventually it will be available on neurological wards, so that it can even help people who are in the early stage of a coma before they are discharged from hospital, and of course it can also help their friends and family. What better help, support, and encouragement than that from a fellow survivor. The reason for writing my book in the first place.

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