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Stroke units

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

  • each year, approximately 110,000 people in England, 11,000 people in Wales and 4,000 people in Northern Ireland have a first or recurrent stroke
  • most people survive a first stroke but often have significant morbidity. More than 900,000 people in England are living with the effects of stroke

  • a stroke unit is:
    • an environment in which multidisciplinary stroke teams deliver stroke care in a dedicated ward which has a bed area, dining area, gym, and access to assessment kitchens
    • the stroke rehabilitation unit is a medical ward where emphasis is placed on the contribution of the:
      • consultant physicians
      • nurses
      • physiotherapists
      • occupational therapists
      • speech and language therapists
      • clinical psychologists
      • rehabilitation assistants
      • social workers

    • the patient is gradually encouraged to maximise his or her capabilities and taught to use strategies to get around specific functional problems. Mechanical aids and modification to the home are planned according to need

    • a tailored community care package is planned prior to discharge

    • 40% of patients who survive a stroke for 6 months will require help with one or more activities of daily living

    • most patients experience greatly diminished social interaction so day care services are valuable

    • the time spent on the stroke rehabilitation unit is often measured in months as progress may be slow

    • stroke patients have a better prognosis if they are rehabilitated on a dedicated stroke rehabilitation unit. The main advantages are:
      • reduced mortality
      • improved activities of daily living on discharge
      • possibly shorter length of stay


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