Posted on Thursday 10th November 2011
Dr Paul Davies, Clinical Lead for Telestroke
Every six seconds, regardless of age or gender – someone somewhere will die from stroke.
Although that is an alarming number, stroke is more than a public health statistic. These are people who, at one time, were someone’s sister, brother, wife, husband, daughter, son, partner, mother, father, friend and this is why North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust is supporting World Stroke Day on 29 October 2011 and helping to raise awareness of the fact that strokes can be beaten.
The World Stroke Association’s “1 in 6” campaign celebrates the fact that not only can stroke be prevented, but that stroke survivors can fully recover and regain their quality of life with the appropriate long-term care and support. The campaign aims to reduce the burden of stroke by acting on six easy challenges:
1. Know your personal risk factors: high blood pressure, diabetes, and high blood cholesterol.
2. Be physically active and exercise regularly.
3. Avoid obesity by keeping to a healthy diet.
4. Limit alcohol consumption.
5. Avoid cigarette smoke. If you smoke, seek help to stop now.
6. Learn to recognise the warning signs of a stroke and how to take action.
Commenting on the warning signs of a stroke, Dr Paul Davies, an Elderly Care Consultant at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The faster a stroke patient receives treatment, the better their chances are of surviving and reducing long-term disability.
“The warning signs of a stroke can be identified with the help of the FAST test - Face, Arm, Speech and Time to call 999. If a patient’s face falls on one side, or they cannot lift both arms and keep them there, or they have slurred speech, it is important to call 999 quickly as time is of the essence in treating a stroke patient. FAST is a simple test to help people to recognise the signs of stroke and understand the importance of emergency treatment.”
There has been a variety of developments to stroke services within North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust and NHS organisations across Cumbria and Lancashire are helping to further improve the quality of care that a stroke patient can receive.
North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust is the lead organisation for the provision of a new Telestroke service which is linking eight hospitals within the Cumbria & Lancashire region to provide a 24/7 thrombolytic service.
Speaking about the recent launch of Telestroke service, Dr Paul Davies said: “Time is core to the treatment of stroke and the quicker a stroke patient is diagnosed, the better the outcome. Telestroke has helped improve the diagnosis of stroke within the Trust and across Cumbria and Lancashire as it has allowed for the provision of a 24/7 Thrombolysis service for all stroke patients across both regions.
“This innovative service utilises groundbreaking telecommunications technology and a rota of 15 Stroke Consultants from six participating Acute Trusts, to bring the stroke specialist to the patient’s bed-side via a television screen.”
Kathy Blacker, Director of the Cumbria and Lancashire Cardiac and Stroke Network, who coordinated the implementation of Telestroke, said: “The Telestroke system is a team effort between all members of the Cumbria and Lancashire Cardiac and Stroke Network.
“By pooling our resources and taking advantage of new technologies, we can now ensure that every suitable stroke patient gets this fantastic treatment, wherever they are in the region and whatever time of day their stroke hits.
“The Network has so far thrombolysed 32 patients out of hours, which wouldn’t have been possible without the new Telestroke service.”