Patients benefit from improved stroke service

September 29, 2016

Patients from across the county are benefitting from a much improved ESHT stroke service since it was centralised at Eastbourne DGH three years ago.

Our specialist stroke unit, offers specialised assessment and diagnosis to patients presenting with stroke symptoms and the service has exceeded performance targets and is receiving excellent feedback from patients and their carers.

Over 2,000 people present each year with a suspected stroke and more than 1,000 stroke patients are seen at the unit each year.

Since July 2013 the improvements include:

  • The proportion of patients with a suspected stroke who are scanned within one hour of arrival at hospital has increased from 55.5% in 2013 to 86.5% in 2016. The time between arrival at hospital and a scan taking place has greatly improved from 51 minutes to 29 minutes.
  •  The number of patients who have been directly admitted to the Stroke Unit within four hours has improved from 71% to 80%.
  • The proportion of patients staying at least 90% of their stay on the Stroke Unit has improved from 87% to 96%.

We now have a stroke consultant available seven days a week providing specialist stroke medical cover and patients are being seen far quicker by medical, nursing and therapy staff. The average time a patient takes to see a Stroke Specialist Nurse on admission to the unit has dropped from 23 minutes to 2 minutes. Both swallowing and physiotherapy assessments are being carried out more quickly, helping patients to start their rehabilitation sooner.

Patients are also benefitting from improved rehabilitation services provided on the unit and at the stroke rehabilitation service based at the Irvine Unit at Bexhill Hospital.

Dr Nikhil Patel, Clinical Lead for Cardiovascular Medicine, said: “We have been on a journey to provide a modern stroke centre for the people of East Sussex. Consolidating services this way has worked in other parts of the country and we have led the way in introducing this model of care in Sussex. It has proven to save and improve more lives. Three years on I’m pleased to say that this move has been a success for our patients. A significant contribution has been made by Dr Conrad Athulathmudali, who has steered the service to achieve these marked improvements. We continue to strive to improve the quality of the service and outcomes for our stroke patients

Dr Conrad Athulathmudali, Consultant Stroke Physician said: “Our unit, of 38 stroke beds, is one of the largest units in the country. Our achievements in various aspects of care for our patients have achieved high gradings in the national stroke audit organised by the Royal College of Physicians.”

The new stroke unit was expanded in line with national expectations to provide both hyper acute and acute stroke care on one site. Doctors work alongside a dedicated specialist nursing team with support from specialist stroke physiotherapists, dieticians, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists.

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