News roundup: February 2023
There are so many stories about stroke in the news every month. That's why we try to highlight a few in our regular news roundup.
This month we have a couple of stories from stroke survivors about at-home care. We also have some headlines about new medical treatments.
But first, we want to give a shout-out to the Roman Baths and Pump Room for being shortlisted for an accessibility award. They have been working hard to make their museum and site accessible to everyone. As part of this process, the team are working with the Stroke Association to become a Stroke Friendly Museum.
You can read more on the Bath Echo.
This month, we're featuring the stories of two survivors with very different experiences of at-home care.
A success story for Early Supported Discharge
Susan Cartwright had a stroke while staying in her caravan. It was a pontine or brain stem stroke. She was taken to Wrexham Maelor Hospital. They identified her as being the perfect candidate for their new Early Supported Discharge (EDS) service.
EDS is part of a new programme in North Wales designed to improve stroke services in the region. When someone is identified as being suitable for the programme, they are sent home to recover instead of staying in hospital. In Susan's case, this was five days after her stroke.
But she wasn't left on her own. A team of medical professionals regularly visited her at home. This included psychologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists. Susan said;
"They spent an hour plus with me every day helping me with mobility, my hand, anxiety and speech...The team couldn't do enough for me, they’re great. They were really reassuring, and I went from strength to strength. The psychologist really helped me too, as there’s a fear that it might happen again...When I no longer needed their support, I was upset to see them go, but they gave me so much confidence. They all said how strong I am, and how I’m fighting every day to get well, which I still am.”Susan Cartwright, stroke survivor
You can read more about Susan's story in The Leader.
'He was still dirty'
Adrian Robson, however, wasn't so fortunate in the care he received at home. The local council threatened Adrian and his wife with court action for not paying their homecare bill. They refuse to pay, though, saying that the care Adrian received wasn't as advertised.
“There was an incident when I was on the commode … and they were supposed to have cleaned me up … but they didn’t do a very good job at all.”Adrian Robson, stroke survivor
He and his wife also stated that a number of the care visits only lasted around 10 minutes. The care staff should have been there for 45 minutes.
North Yorkshire County Council decided not to go ahead with the court action and apologised after hearing from Adrian and his wife. You can read more about this story in The Guardian.
It is important to note that Adrian was not a part of an EDS programme.
In this month's medical news section, we have stories about a couple of exciting new treatments.
Treatments for lacunar stroke survivors.
A preliminary study has had some positive early results treating people who had a lacunar stroke – these are clotting strokes that happen in small blood vessels deep in the brain. Many people who have lacunar strokes develop problems with memory, thinking and movement.
The drugs used in this study showed some signs that they may help with these symptoms. A full, four-year clinical trial is now scheduled to start by the end of this year.
One of the most exciting things about these new treatments is that these drugs have already been approved for other conditions. So, if the clinical trial is successful, the drugs will likely be available much sooner than brand new treatments would be.
You can read more about this research in The Herald.
Spinal implant restores hand control for two stroke survivors.
Heather Rendulic received a spinal implant nine years after her stroke. This implant gave her the ability to use her left hand again. Researchers are cautiously optimistic about the technology. You can read more about Heather's story on the BBC.
The article contains part of a quote from Dr Rubina Ahmed, the Associate Director of Research at the Stroke Association. Here a fuller version of the quote:
"There is a common misconception that stroke survivors experience a ‘recovery plateau’ around 6-12 months after a stroke, where further improvements are not expected. However, many survivors can benefit from intensive physiotherapy even years after their stroke. This benefit is possible without nerve stimulation, but for stroke survivors who find physio challenging, nerve stimulation technologies like these may be a useful addition. The research is still in the early stages and surgical implants may not be suitable for everyone. Non-invasive stimulation methods are also being tested which could be used by a wider range of people."Dr Rubina Ahmed, Associate Director of Research at the Stroke Association
You can also read more here about another type of nerve stimulation research funded by the Stroke Association.
And finally, we want to close this month's news roundup with a massive thank you to two amazing fundraisers.
Three Clocks Challenge
Diane Sanna is walking nearly 260 miles to raise money for the Stroke Association. She is doing the 'Three Clocks Challenge'. That means walking from Big Ben in London to the Eastgate Clock in Chester and finally to the Millennium Clock in her home village of Penyffordd. You can read more about Diane's story on The Leader.
Firefighters' fitness competition
Zac Blackledge was a firefighter in Blackburn when he had a series of stroke. His recovery went well and he soon decided to do some fundraising with a friend. They decided to enter a fitness doubles competition in Glasgow, completing the whole event in full firefighting gear! The two raised around £1,800 for the Fire Fighters Charity and the Stroke Association. You can read more about Zac on the Lancashire Telegraph.