Patient and carer group highlights importance of World Stroke Day

World Stroke Day is held on 29 October each year. This year’s campaign focuses on saving precious time, referring to the need to act F.A.S.T. in the aftermath of a stroke, as well as how that action can improve the quality of life for stroke survivors.

Stroke is the largest cause of disability in the UK and the fourth biggest killer. In West Yorkshire and Harrogate, around 3000 people a year have a stroke with two thirds of stroke survivors left with some form of physical, mental or emotional disability – often completely life changing.

The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership has a group of patients, families and carers affected by stroke that share their experiences and help to shape the future of stroke services and this is part of the Integrated Stroke Delivery Network (ISDN) remit of work.

The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Integrated Stroke Delivery Network has been established, to enable services to work more closely together and share best practice, with the aim of delivering the best care possible for the people of West Yorkshire and Harrogate. Patient representatives ensure the views of people with lived experience of stroke are included in the planning, delivery, and evaluation of the ISDN’s work. If you have been affected by Stroke and would like to get join you can visit the website and find out more.

On world stroke day the message from the members of the ISDN is to urge people not to ignore signs and symptoms that could be potentially life changing and life threatening.

Having a stroke or a ‘mini stroke’ (known as a Transient Ischaemic Attack where symptoms may be temporary) is a medical emergency.

Knowing the signs of a stroke is key and people need to Act F.A.S.T. if they or someone close to them experience the following:

Face – has their face drooped?

Arms – do they have arm weakness?

Speech – Is it slurred or absent?

Time – Time to dial 999 immediately!

Every second of delay, perhaps through calling a GP practice to make an appointment, may lead to further loss of brain cells and reduce the chances of survival or avoiding disability. Stroke is a medical emergency – if you spot the signs, Act F.A.S.T. and dial 999 immediately.

Nathan Stonestroke survivor and patient representative for the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Integrated Stroke Delivery Network (ISDN) said “Stroke is not an ‘older persons’ illness and can impact anyone young, old, adult, child and even the fit and outwardly healthy.  Stroke does not just happen on World Stroke Day but is an all-year round condition that can strike at any time.  Make sure you know the signs and to react FAST”.

Barry Rogers, stroke survivor and patient representative for the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Integrated Stroke Delivery Network (ISDN) said “Being a patient representative means I’m able to share my experience and help shape service developments and improve outcomes for other stroke survivors. World Stroke Day is an event that we as patient representatives feel strongly about supporting.  If you have been affected by stroke and would like to be involved with the group my advice would be to do it! We are a friendly group and you’d be most welcome”.

Rachel Stewart, Network Manager for the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Integrated Stroke Delivery Network (ISDN) said “World Stroke Day is a real opportunity to highlight Stroke and I would like to thank our panel of patient representatives for coming together on it. Working alongside our panel of patient representatives is a great way to get ongoing feedback. We’ve built a good working relationship and a better understanding of patient experiences. We’re very much looking for more people who have been affected by stroke to join especially women and people from ethnic minority communities”.