A national adviser for the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) visited The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust recently to see work being undertaken to improve care for stroke patients.
Amanda Cheesley, Long Term Conditions Adviser to the RCN, requested to visit the Trust after hearing Angela Keeney, Nurse Consultant for stroke services, speak at a recent stroke conference in London.
Angela talked about the Trust’s stroke assessment nurses and rapid access clinic at the conference and was on hand to personally show Amanda around the facilities at Pinderfields Hospital.
Amanda said: “I was so impressed that Angela and her senior colleagues have managed to increase the size of the team at a time of financial hardship. I wanted to come and meet the team and see how they work for myself. "
The Trust has implemented a round the clock stroke assessment nurse service, something which Amanda says is rare. The Trust has a rapid access clinic at Pinderfields which sees patients who have suspected TIA*. Stroke assessment nurses are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for staff to refer patients to the clinic, which facilitates rapid assessment, delivery of thrombolyisis and ensures stroke patients are admitted directly to the Hyperacute Stroke Unit.
Amanda spoke to staff on the stroke unit during her visit. She said: “I’ve been very impressed by what I’ve seen and it’s the first time I’ve been to the new hospital; it’s very spacious and the facilities for patients are excellent.”
Angela added: “We are very proud of the high quality care we provide to our stroke patients and were delighted that Amanda wanted to come and witness this for herself. It is very encouraging to hear from experienced colleagues, from outside of the organisation, that we are delivering a quality service for patients who have had a stroke.”
Every patient at the Trust who has a stroke should be admitted to the Hyper Acute Stroke Unit. The Trust has a target that patients should spend a minimum of 90% of their time in hospital on a stroke unit. The target for achieving this is 80%. Latest figures show the Trust is achieving this and is currently on 91%.
The other target the Trust has around stroke services is that high risk TIA patients are seen and treated within 24 hours. The target for this is 60%; the Trust is currently on 67% for this target.
Angela said: “We’ve made vast improvements on this target since the rapid access TIA clinic was extended to a 7 day service in January 2012.
Picture Caption. Amanda Cheesley (bottom left) and the stroke team from The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust
*TIA stands for Transient Ischaemic Attack. It is sometimes called a “mini-stroke”. It is caused by a sudden loss of brain function that causes a temporary loss of use of part of your body, affecting only one side. This may affect an arm or a leg, drooping on one side of your face or cause problems speaking properly. A TIA comes on suddenly and recovers completely – usually within minutes or hours and definitely within 24 hours. As with a stroke, the symptoms mean that a part of the brain is not getting enough blood. A TIA should never be ignored. Without treatment, some people who have had a TIA may go on to have a full-blown stroke that doesn’t fully recover.