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Headway welcomes stroke death fall, but warns progress on rehabilitation is vital Main Image

Headway welcomes stroke death fall, but warns progress on rehabilitation is vital

Fri 24 May 2019

Headway has welcomed research which has shown a significant fall in the number of stroke deaths but has warned that more needs to be done to ensure those who survive have access to specialist rehabilitation.

The study in the British Medical Journal showed that in the past ten years deaths from stroke fell by 55 per cent, largely due to a 75% increase in the number of people surviving stroke, rather than fewer people having them.

The number of strokes has fallen among older people, who have been the target of medical interventions to control their blood pressure, such as prescription of statins. But conversely there has been an increase in the number of people younger than 55 having more strokes, the study found.

One of the authors of the work, Olena Seminog, of the Nuffield department of population health at Oxford University, told the Guardian: “This is very good news but we should still appreciate the importance of prevention because people who have a stroke do have a high chance of surviving now, but many survivors will still [have] a lot of disability.

“That can be sometimes severe. It will have an impact on their lives and their families’ lives.”

Peter McCabe, Chief Executive of Headway, said although much of this research provided reason for optimism, the report does highlight the need for brain injury survivors to have timely access to appropriate rehabilitation services, for as long as they need it.

He said: “The NHS does an excellent job at saving people's lives, and developments in acute neurological care of course should be warmly welcomed. However, it is vital that greater attention and resources are allocated to what comes next.

"Too frequently we hear about brain injury survivors and their families being discharged without access to rehabilitation or support services once they have returned home.

“Headway has long called for greater investment in post-acute rehabilitation services in order to keep pace with advancements in acute care.

"Unless this happens, stroke survivors and their families will be at risk of falling between the gaps, without the help they need to make a meaningful recovery.”

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