Stroke can be a devastating and life changing event for people. However, this review found that the extent to which they are supported to cope with life after stroke varies significantly across England. The best services are built around the individual – with their care being planned to take account of the needs, circumstances and preferences of the person who has had a stroke, their carers and family. People in these areas are more likely to experience a smooth and coordinated return home from hospital and to have access to a broad range of services to help them recover from, and cope with, the effects of stroke. But services in other areas have significant room for improvement. CQC found that people could not always access the services they need when they need them:
- Early supported discharge, which provides more rehabilitation at home rather than in hospital and is known to achieve better results for people and cut pressure on hospital beds, was available across 37% of areas.
- 32% of primary care trusts (PCTs) did not commission specialist stroke physiotherapy in the community across the whole of their area.
- In 44% of areas, occupational therapy for people who have had a stroke was not always provided by specialist staff with specific training on stroke.
- In 48% of areas, people had to wait two weeks on average until they receive community-based speech and language therapy.
- While most carers were given access to information and advice, in around a third of areas not all carers could access peer support, such as carer support groups or befriending schemes.