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Improving access to psychological care across the stroke pathway in Croydon
14 July 2011
An innovative project to provide support for patients and carers facing the psychological changes that come after a stroke has proved a success.
The team, led by Neuropsychologist Dr Noelle Blake, developed a range of support systems to help people at every stage in their recovery
Department of Health Accelerating Stroke Improvement targets recommend that 40% of patients with stroke should receive screening for mood and cognitive difficulties and 95%should receive a review six months post discharge. 
The project exceeded these targets by putting in place a comprehensive package of psychological interventions, commencing in the acute ward and continuing to work to support people on discharge into the community.
Actions included
·         Introducing screening measures to assess mood and cognition
·         Developing psychological education groups that were delivered in the acute hospital and in two community settings
·         Signposting specialist referral to Neuropsychology when required
·         Six monthly reviews that identified on-going needs.
Outcomes showed that 63% of all stroke patients were screened for mood and cognitive disorders, with 25% of all patients receiving additional specialist neuropsychological input. Nearly one third of all stroke patients and family members chose to attend our education groups.
There was also education on psychological care post stroke for professional staff.
Most importantly, feedback from service users was uniformly excellent, emphasising the value of timely, practical but sensitive advice and support about the psychological impact of stroke.
Comments included:

“It would have been useful to have this earlier in rehab”
“Helpful coping strategies”
“Very comforting to know there are lots of other services in the community and it doesn’t stop on discharge”
“Good to have information talked through rather than just getting a leaflet”
“I’m glad you included problems for carers – you feel you need to be strong””
The Trust sees this pathway model as a way to encourage integrated working across the acute and community sectors, delivering quality care with effective use of time and professional resources and would welcome feedback and involvement from GPs.
If you have any questions contact in the first instance and we will put you in touch with someone who can answer your questions.
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