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South West Hospital patients now better informed about rebuilding their life after stroke

Staff from Ward 5 Stroke Unit at the South West Acute Hospital, Enniskillen pictured from left to rights are Sr Katie Wilson; Physiotherapist Becky Watson and Stroke Consultant Dr Brian Gallen.

Stroke patients and their families at the South West Acute Hospital, Enniskillen now have access to a wide range of essential information to help them rebuild their lives, thanks to an initiative by the Stroke Association and Western Health and Social Care Trust.

Stroke changes lives in a moment and can leave stroke survivors and their families frightened and confused about how they can face the challenges ahead.

The new information area the charity has created in Ward 5 in the hospital’s stroke unit has guidance on practical problems, such as finding support after leaving hospital, as well as the physical and emotional difficulties they may experience.

Alasdair O’Hara, the Stroke Association’s Associate Director for Northern Ireland, said:

“People often tell us that they feel well supported in hospital but going home feels like a huge step into the unknown.

“Working closely with the amazing stroke staff at the Western Health and Social Care Trust, we’re thrilled to launch our new information area on the acute stroke ward.

“We believe everyone deserves to live the best life they can after a stroke and we’re there to help with this.

“People can find out about such things as benefits and financial assistance, returning to work, driving after a stroke, and mobility. There’s guidance on how to cope with the physical and emotional impact of stroke such as extreme fatigue, difficulties with speaking and swallowing, and the steps they can take to reduce their risk of further strokes.

“There’s also information for families, as partners adapt to their new role caring for a stroke survivor. This offers tips on coping in the early days and explains why it’s important to look after yourself, as well as whoever you are caring for.

“We’re now working with all health and social care trusts across Northern Ireland to replicate this initiative.”

Sr Katie Wilson, Ward 5 Stroke Unit at the South West Acute Hospital said:

“We are delighted to work in partnership with the Stroke Association in providing an information area at the South West Acute Hospital on a wide range of information for our stroke patients and their families to help them rebuild their lives after a stroke.

“It is very important that our patients are able to avail of information and advice particularly when they are discharged from hospital. The fact that this information stand is available in the ward means that patients and their families can access this easily and hopefully this will help elevate some of the stress and anxiety around how they can be supported when they return home.

“We would wish to assure patients that the staff in Ward 5 Stroke Unit are available to help and support them and this initiative is a reflection of the care and commitment of the Trust and the Stroke Association in supporting them every step of the way to return to their normal lives.”

Each year, around 650 patients are admitted to South West Acute Hospital, Ward 5 with stroke symptoms. A 1/3 of these patients end up diagnosed with a Stroke and the remaining either TIA’s or stroke mimics. Around 5,000 hospital admissions due to stroke occur across Northern Ireland.

Information for stroke survivors and carers is also available on the Stroke Association’s website or by calling the Stroke Helpline on 0303 3033 100.