Thousands of stroke survivors in Northern Ireland deserted after leaving hospital

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Shocking new figures reveal that more than half (59%) of stroke survivors in Northern Ireland feel they did not receive enough support with their recovery.

The Stroke Association has published new findings that show thousands of stroke survivors in Northern Ireland said they struggle to access the support they need to rebuild their lives after stroke.

There are currently more than 38,000 stroke survivors in Northern Ireland, and these latest findings show that many people feel let down by the health and social care system. The charity’s Lived Experience report is compiled from a large survey of people affected by stroke to find out more about their experiences.

Helen Graham, 49, from Richhill in County Armagh, had a stroke in November 2015. Before her stroke, the mum of four, was a teacher at a local primary school and led a busy and active life. She spent weeks recovering in hospital and was forced to retire from the job she loved due to the devastating impact of her stroke.

“It’s almost 4 years on since my stroke but I’m still struggling with the impact on my life. It’s not just physical, but mental and emotional too. I knew practically nothing about stroke believing that it only happened to older people. I did not know that stroke is a brain injury. When I first got home from hospital I found that I was able to do so little and I really struggled with that.

“The community stroke team visited me for a few weeks but when that stopped I felt very much on my own. Thankfully, I have a very supportive husband and family and that helped a lot. I’m not surprised that so many stroke survivors in Northern Ireland feel they haven’t received enough support to recover as I’ve met many people since my stroke who have struggled to access things like physiotherapy, speech and language therapy and counselling. Having a stroke is hard enough; we shouldn’t have to fight for the rehabilitation and support we desperately need to recover”.

Barry Macaulay, Director of the Stroke Association Northern Ireland, said: “Stroke turns lives upside down, robbing you of your mobility, your speech and often your independence. We know there are hospitals, stroke units and dedicated stroke professionals throughout Northern Ireland providing excellent stroke rehabilitation.”

The Stroke Helpline (0303 3033 100) offers information and support to people who have been affected by stroke. For more information about the Lived Experience of Stroke report – Rebuilding lives after stroke – visit www.stroke.org.uk/livedexperience

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