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New report calls for better access to speech therapy for stroke patients

Thursday 10th May 2018
The Stroke Association has raised concerns that stroke patients are not receiving the proper access to speech therapy and rehabilitation support.
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Stroke survivors are currently struggling to get access to speech therapy and other crucial aspects of rehabilitation support, according to a new report.

The Stroke Association has revealed that the majority of NHS patients affected by strokes are not receiving the level of rehabilitation therapy recommended for optimal recovery by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

According to NICE's guidance, stroke survivors should be given at least 45 minutes of each type of rehabilitation therapy they require - including physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy - for five days a week, for as long as it is of benefit to them. However, new figures suggests that in reality, patients are only receiving around one-third of this.

Data from the Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme report for 2016-17 show that stroke patients discharged from hospital receive the equivalent of only 12 minutes of speech and language therapy per day, plus 16 minutes each of physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

As such, the Stroke Association is calling on local health commissioners across the country to do more to make the necessary resources available to meet the recommended standards of rehabilitation therapy, thereby ensuring that stroke survivors can achieve an optimal recovery.

Juliet Bouverie, chief executive at the Stroke Association, said: "For those who have been robbed of the ability to carry out simple everyday tasks, access to rehabilitation therapy can be truly life-changing, for them and their families.

"We know that some stroke survivors have resorted to paying privately for therapy as they fear for their future. But rehabilitation therapy is an absolute necessity for stroke recovery - it should not be a luxury only available to those who can afford it."

At present, two-thirds of stroke patients leave hospital with a disability, meaning they face a struggle to relearn basic skills such as how to walk, talk and even eat.

Written by Martin Lambert

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