Newly transformed stroke unit opens to care for Croydon residents close to home  | Trust news

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Newly transformed stroke unit opens to care for Croydon residents close to home 

Croydon University Hospital has opened a brand new, purpose-built, stroke unit to transform the care and rehabilitation of stroke patients in one of London’s largest boroughs. 

The state-of-the-art unit is the next significant stage in a £14.7m modernisation of the hospital’s services that will also see the size of Croydon’s only Critical Care Unit increase by half, with the latest equipment and facilities to bring the highest standards of care, privacy and dignity to some of the sickest patients and their loved ones in the borough.

Croydon’s new stroke facility will remain a 26-bedded ward, and will have a bespoke therapy room and outpatient clinic to enable doctors, nurses and therapists to provide holistic care and support under one roof.

In addition, new wheelchair-accessible wet rooms located in each of the six-bed bays will bring extra comfort to patients, along with two fully accessible single rooms with en-suite. Each bed is also fitted with ceiling track hoists above, allowing for increased ease and dignity of patient mobility.

An improved day room will offer a space where patients can spend time relaxing or with family members to aid their recovery. This will include a lounge, dining table and kitchenette and, in the coming months, there will also be a spacious outdoor garden for patients and staff, with access from the therapy room and day room. The bed bays will also look out onto this garden area.

Discussing what the unit means for Croydon Dr Enas Lawrence, lead stroke consultant, said:

“The exciting new facility is an extremely important addition to our critical services here in Croydon. Our borough is one of the hardest-hit areas in England for stroke and Transient Ischaemic Attacks (TIA), which can often signal that a bigger and potentially more devastating stroke is on the way.

“Time is critical when a stroke strikes, so we work as part of a specialist network in London to give people the best care possible. What this new unit means is that we will be able to combine this care with the wraparound therapy and support needed to help more patients recover and regain their lives. This will also help our multidisciplinary teams to combine their skills and expertise to give people in Croydon much more coordinated support, in and out of hospital.” 

Stroke inflicts someone in England every five minutes, and whilst more common amongst the older populations, it can strike anyone at any age. High blood pressure or cholesterol can often increase someone’s risk of stroke, such as other medical conditions like atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat), diabetes and sickle cell disease.

The NHS in London operates a network of eight Hyper Acute Stroke Units (HASUs) across the capital to provide expert investigation, treatment and care in the shortest time possible in the event of a stroke. Patients will normally then be transferred to their local stroke units, like Croydon, to continue their care, inpatient treatment and rehabilitation. Croydon hospital’s stroke team can see up to 400 inpatients every year.  

Mala Rai, Stroke Matron at Croydon University Hospital, said:

“Stroke is a devastating condition, which completely changes your life within minutes – the recovery however can take months, if not longer. Croydon’s new purpose-built unit is a specialised rehabilitation centre and is vital to helping patients regain their independence in comfortable surroundings in services that are at the very forefront of stroke therapy.

“This new unit will transform the care and experience for our patients, but also for our staff who have dedicated their work for caring for our community. With their help, and with the support of the Trust and our architects, we have been able to tailor-make this new unit meets the needs of us as clinicians, but importantly the needs of stroke patients in Croydon who are at the heart of everything we do on the unit.” 

Nicole Dzahini, Ward Manager, adds: 

“Aft er a stroke, simple tasks we take for granted, like boiling the kettle or brushing your teeth, suddenly become almost impossible to achieve. Speech also can be severely affected and therefore the patient needs to learn new ways to communicate, which can be very frustrating for them. The significance of the unit’s new wet rooms where patients can start to regain the strength to shower, or the kitchenette where the therapist can help them achieve these once basic tasks makes not only our job more manageable but gives the patient the needed morale after the shock of suffering a stroke. The community team also assists families to adjust to a new way of living which includes not only helping to transform the physical spaces of their homes but also assisting with their emotional wellbeing.”  

For advice on the signs and symptoms and what to do in the event of a stroke, visit www.nhs.uk 

Croydon’s new stroke unit admitted its first patients on 29 June 2022. The Trust will hold an official opening ceremony to celebrate the improvements for patients and the borough’s NHS staff later in the year, once the outdoor area is fully completed. 

Background

A stroke, according to the Stroke Association, “happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, killing brain cells. Damage to the brain can affect how the body works. It can also change how some can think and feel.

The team

Team members in the new unit.

Charge nurse with patient

Patient Stanley with Charge Nurse John.

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