Reflecting on the ‘lived experience’ of stroke survivors
The largest ever survey of the lived experience of stroke in the UK has confirmed neuro occupational therapy and other mental health support services are crucial to recovery.
Over 90 per cent of the 10,000-plus stroke survivors surveyed suffered at least one cognitive impact, such as problems with memory or concentration. Three quarters of them reported experiencing a change in their mental health after a stroke, including depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts.
Vitally, however, the survivors confirmed with time, courage and ‘the right support’, they start to feel like they are on the ‘road to recovery’.
The Stroke Association, which published the report this week amid its development of a new National Stroke Programme with the NHS, said change couldn’t come quickly enough now.
‘We now know even more about the major impact of stroke on people’s lives, including the hidden effects of stroke. Often these do not disappear with time. We will continue our efforts to make sure that stroke survivors are better supported. It is vital that we do so.’
The survey of over 10,000 stroke survivors and carers from across the UK asked:
- how their stroke had affected them
- the things they found challenging to adapt to
- the support they received
- the areas in which they wish they had been better supported.
There are an estimated 1.2 million stroke survivors in the UK, with one person every five minutes experiencing a stroke.
What is a stroke
A stroke is a sudden interuption of the blood supply to the brain. When a stroke happens, part of the brain loses its blood supply and is damaged. This may be caused by a clot or a bleed.
The impact of a stroke varies depending on which part of the brain is affected and how much the brain was damaged.
Stroke symptoms include:
- the face dropped on one side
- weakness or numbness in one arm
- inability to life both arms and keep them there
- slurred or garbled speech
- inability to talk or understand
- complete paralysis of one side of the body
- sudden loss or blurring of vision
- problems with balance and co-ordination
- difficulty swallowing
- sudden and severe headache
- loss of consciousness
Further information on the survey’s findings here