Innovative stroke service continues for patients in Brent

Stroke ESD

A pilot scheme to support stroke patients in Brent spend less time in hospital has been given the green light to continue on a permanent basis. 

London North West Healthcare NHS Trust (LNWH) has been delivering the Stroke Early Supported Discharge Service since the pilot began in September 2015. Now, following a tender process the Trust has been awarded a five-year contract to continue delivering the innovative service on a permanent basis. 

Historically, patients spent an average of 17 days in hospital following a stroke with most of this time being used for rehabilitation. Funded by Brent Clinical Commissioning Group and run by staff from Northwick Park Hospital’s Stroke Unit, the service supports patients, who are clinically well, to leave hospital earlier so that they can receive their follow-up care and rehabilitation in their own homes. 

Dr David Cohen, Lead Consultant for Stroke at LNWH, said: “The Stroke Early Supported Discharge Service is about giving patients the right care in the right setting. We know that patients do not want to be in hospital longer than they need, but we also know that they require additional support in their own home.

“While in hospital, patients learn how to cook, make a cup of tea and carry out many other day-to-day tasks in a purpose-built kitchen on the ward. This is a fantastic way for patients to regain the life skills they need, but when they return home, the kitchen is different, the jobs they need to do are different and the support network they received in hospital is gone. Patients can find it very challenging and it often takes time for patients feel confident at home. 

“By bringing rehabilitation into the home, patients can learn in their own environment, with dedicated support and the opportunity to ask all the questions they need. It also means that families can be more involved in their care.”

The Stroke Early Supported Discharge Service is provided by a consultant-led multidisciplinary team with specialist stroke staff, including Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Speech and Language Therapists, Psychologists and Therapy Technicians. Therapy programmes can last up to six weeks, depending on the individual patient’s needs.

Since the pilot began 200 patients have been supported by the service. Dr Cohen added: “We are delighted that commissioners have awarded us the contract on a permanent basis. It is testament to the hard work and skill of our stroke team and goes to show why our stroke unit has been named one of the best in the country.”

Last year the Royal College of Physicians rated Northwick Park Hospital’s Stroke Unit among the best in the country. It achieved the highest possible rating of 10 out of 10, in findings from the 2016 Acute Organisational Audit. Only one other hospital, Barts Health NHS Trust, also achieved top marks.

Dr Ajit Shah, co-clinical director at Brent Clinical Commissioning Group said: “As a GP, I know a lot of my patients who have had a stroke can recover better if the right support is in place at home.

“This new service should make a big difference to patients, their loved ones and their carers by helping people who have had a stroke regain their independence or get back on their feet more quickly.”