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Stroke survivors feel 'abandoned' on leaving hospital

Too many stroke survivors feel “abandoned” when they leave hospital, a charity has warned

The Stroke Association said that many are left without the support they need to help them cope with the emotional impact of stroke.

A new report from the charity says the emotional strain on patients and their families when they return home from hospital is “underestimated” and “often overlooked” by health and social care services.

Strokes affect around 152,000 people in the UK every year. The brain damage caused by strokes means that they are the largest cause of adult disability in the UK.

A poll of 2,700 stroke survivors across the UK found that 42% said they felt abandoned after leaving hospital.

And 59% admitted that they felt depressed and two thirds said they experienced anxiety as a direct result of their stroke.

But despite this, nearly four fifths received no information or practical advice to help them cope with the emotional impact of stroke.

“Stroke leaves survivors and families shocked, shaken and anxious as their lives are often irreversibly changed in an instant,” said Jon Barrick, chief executive of the charity.

“There are over one million stroke survivors living in the UK and with an ageing population this figure is only set to increase.

“Better recognition by health and social care professionals of the impact of stroke will help people to be properly assessed and get the right support.”

Professor Reg Morris, clinical psychologist at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, added: “Depression, anxiety and fear of another stroke are common feelings among those touched by the condition and in the most extreme cases people can be left feeling suicidal.

“Better recognition of the emotional effects of stroke by health and social care professionals is essential in order to address the need for integrated psychological support for survivors and their families.

“We know that with the right emotional, psychological and physical care more stroke survivors will have the opportunity to make their best possible recovery.”

The Stroke Association said that all stroke patients should be given access to information, practical advice and emotional support after suffering a stroke.

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