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UK Stroke community reacts to stroke guideline update

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This week saw the announcement that the National Clinical Guideline for Stroke is to be updated for the first time since 2016.

These updates come in order to align the guidelines to reflect innovations and developments made since 2016.

The Guideline Development Group of the Intercollegiate Stroke Working Party, who are a multi-disciplinary group of experts in stroke care, have collaborated with stroke patients and patient advocacy charities such as the Stroke Association, in order to update the guidelines for stroke.

The new guidelines provide recommendations on the standard of care that should be provided across the stroke care pathway, all the way to life after stroke.

These updates promise that guidance to improve clinical practices in order to enable better outcomes for individuals with stroke or TIA (mini stroke).

Key areas have been updated in the new guidelines, with either new or updated recommendations.

More patients will now be eligible for life saving treatments such as thrombectomy and thrombolysis. 

The guideline update has also provided updated recommendations on the amount and intensity of rehabilitation that stroke patients should receive during their recovery.

New sections have also been introduced in this update, including rehabilitation potential, managing fatigue, and supporting stroke patients back to work. 

Speaking to SR Times, Charlotte Nicholls, Head of Policy at the Stroke Association said: “We’re really pleased to have worked with the Royal College of Physicians to update the National Clinical Guideline for Stroke for the UK and Ireland. Every stroke patient deserves the best chance at survival and good recovery from stroke. Bringing together the latest evidence, this guideline makes clear the standard of treatment and care every stroke patient should receive.

“The new guideline emphasises  something that stroke survivors and people in the stroke community have known for a long time, that recoveries can continue years after you’ve had a stroke. It is vital that stroke survivors receive the dose and intensity of rehabilitative therapies outlined in the new guideline, so they can  rebuild their lives years into the future.

“Despite the brilliant efforts of staff, current stroke services are a long way from delivering the standards set out in this guideline. This makes it even more essential that stroke is fully resourced and prioritised at a local and national level. This includes funding and implementing evidence-based interventions, as well as developing a fully staffed workforce, to enable the guideline to be met everywhere. 

“There is still a postcode lottery when it comes to access to treatments such as thrombectomy and the declining thrombolysis rate is very concerning. The only way to solve this is with a mixture of capital and workforce investment, as outlined in our Saving Brains and Recoveries at Risk reports.”

Claire Bennett, Head of Service Delivery at Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland said: “We welcome the most recent updates to the National Clinical Guideline for Stroke in UK and Ireland. These guidelines outline the high standard of stroke care that should be available to everyone.

“The next challenge is to ensure that the resources are available to ensure that these recommendations can be met.  It is essential that access to high quality stroke care is equitable, regardless of where people live or where they are receiving their treatment.”\

You can read the full updated guidelines here.

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