The NHS should now provide stroke patients with at least three hours of rehabilitation per day, five days a week, according to new clinical guidance from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
The highly anticipated new guidance, updated for the first time in 10 years, significantly increases the advised amount of physical therapy for stroke patients by four times compared to the previous guidelines published in 2013, which only recommended 45 minutes.
Approximately 100,000 people per year in the UK suffer a stroke, with around 1.3m people currently living with the effects of a stroke, according to NICE. Stroke is the leading cause of death and disability in the UK, causing around 38,000 deaths each year.
Evidence reviewed by NICE's independent committee showed more intensive rehabilitation including a range of physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy, improved the quality of life and daily living of stroke patients.
However, NICE’s chief medical officer has acknowledged the challenges the healthcare system will face to deliver this recommendation, due to problems in increasing staff and service capacity.
Early diagnosis of a stroke is vital to enable early access to treatment which massively improves outcomes. If treatment is administered swiftly and effectively, it is perfectly possible for a stroke patient to fully recover.
Unfortunately, when mistakes are made such as misdiagnosis or delayed treatment, the outcome can be devastating.
The Observer recently reported the death of Jasbir Pahal who died when vital thrombectomy surgery was not available at weekends. My colleague Helen Thompson is representing Mrs Pahal's family in a medical negligence claim.
The BBC reported the inquest, which is ongoing.
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