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New service for stroke patients launches across north Cumbria

A new service to support recovering stroke patients and their families has been launched. The North Cumbria Community Stroke Discharge and Support Team will support patients with complex care needs who are being discharged from hospital following a stroke, focusing on patients who require a full package of care at home or who are moving into nursing residential care. 

 The service is a 12-month pilot project funded by Stroke Quality Improvement for Rehabilitation (SQuIRe). 

 The team are working with the stroke teams at the both the Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital to identify suitable patients and the team will then work to reduce the patient’s length of stay in hospital and reduce the likelihood of them requiring re-admission to hospital. The small team is made up of two occupational therapists, two nurses, a principal psychological practitioner, a team secretary and a team lead/case manager. 

 Jo Howard, Early Supported Stroke Discharge Co-ordinator at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust (NCIC) said: “The service will be an innovative way of working in north Cumbria. This new service will enhance the support which is already available for stroke patients, families and carers following discharge from hospital.”

 Vicky Reay, Team Lead and Case Manager for the new service said: “There is already a lot of great work being done by NHS, local authority and third sector teams across north Cumbria to support individuals and their families following a stroke. We are excited to work alongside these services and collaborate to enhance quality of life after stroke for people in our communities.”

 The launch of the service coincides with Stroke Awareness Month which runs from 1st to 31st May. The stroke teams at hospitals in north Cumbria will be raising awareness and sharing stroke prevention advice over the course of the month, covering:

 Blood pressure: lowering your blood pressure by just 10mmHg can reduce your stroke risk by 25%. A healthy blood pressure is 130/80. Tips to reduce your blood pressure include: reducing salt intake; regular exercise; weight loss; eating plenty of fruit and vegetables; reducing alcohol intake and stopping smoking

Atrial Fibrillation: This is a heart condition which causes an irregular heartbeat and can make you five times more likely to have a stroke. A simple manual pulse check can help to diagnose atrial fibrillation. 

High cholesterol: If your cholesterol is too high it can increase stroke risk by 10%. 1/5 adults in the UK are diagnosed with high cholesterol. You can lower your cholesterol by reducing your intake of food high in saturated fats; aim for two portions of oily fish per week; increase intake of fruit and vegetables and increase intake of foods high in soluble fibre.

Diabetes: As diabetes is caused by too much sugar in the blood, this can damage blood vessels. You can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by losing weight; increasing physical activity; reducing sugar intake; eating more fruit and vegetables and cutting down on red and processed meats. 

Photo caption (L-R): 

Gill Robertson – Occupational therapist 

Ebby Graham – Nurse

Vicky Reay – Case manager/Team Lead

Cheryl Barry  - Nurse

Richard Wamsley – Occupational therapist 

Laura Cairns -  Neuro psychologist

Liz Edmondson – team secretary

Posted: 8th May 2024