New stroke service offers faster treatment and rehabilitation
Northern Devon Healthcare Trust is delighted to announce the opening of the new Acute Stroke Unit at North Devon District Hospital (NDDH). Forming part of the new stroke patient pathway, the unit at NDDH will have two bays of 4 beds with intensive monitoring facilities for two patients and two individual side rooms.
From the 16 January, stroke patients will benefit from being assessed and treated in a dedicated stroke ward by a multi-disciplinary team, including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dieticians, speech therapists and specialist doctors. Once the patient’s condition is stable, they will then be transferred to Elizabeth ward at Bideford Community Hospital for further specialist and intensive rehabilitation by a dedicated team. In future, the Trust plans to extend this rehabilitation into the community to support a much earlier discharge from hospital for patients.
Stroke is one of the most common reasons for admission to hospital with over 300 cases each year in North Devon. The new purpose-built unit will mean the specialist stroke teams working at NDDH and Bideford will be able to concentrate on the management of stroke patients and more easily introduce the latest types of stroke treatment.
The opening of the Acute Stroke Unit (ASU) will co-incide with the setting up of a clot busting service, which will use thrombolysis to improve the recovery for a small proportion of stroke patents who may benefit from this new treatment.
Previously, patients would have been admitted through the Medical Admissions Unit, assessed and then transferred to other wards around the hospital. Now patients will be admitted to the Emergency Department, assessed, if necessary receive a CT scan and thrombolysis, and be transferred to the ASU for the acute phase of their treatment.
Sister Karen Fasey, ASU ward manager said, “The stroke teams at NDDH and Bideford are very excited about the opening of the new unit. The whole team has been involved in the planning stages and used our experience and knowledge of the best care pathways for stroke patients to redesign a service which will benefit all patients in north Devon.
Dr Mervyn Dent, consultant stroke specialist said, “We are confident this new service will allow us to offer the best care to patients by having a multi-disciplinary team based from one unit at NDDH. This team will also link up with our community nursing and rehabilitation teams to ensure patients don’t stay in hospital longer than necessary and receive full rehabilitation support, closer to their home, family, friends and carers.”
Strokes are difficult to detect as the symptoms are sometimes subtle and not painful. Treatment and recovery are more successful the quicker the patient gets to hospital and receives specialist treatment. It is vital that people know the symptoms of a stroke. The FAST system is a simple way of confirming that a stroke has occurred –
Facial weakness – can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?
Arm weakness – can the person raise both arms?
Speech problems – can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?
Test all three symptoms
If the person fails any of the tests and the symptoms have come on suddenly, they should go to hospital immediately.