Stroke strikes every five minutes in the UK. It can happen to anyone, of any age – one person in seven who has a stroke is under 60 and some people are much younger.
Treatment has improved hugely over the past 25 years and more people are aware that stroke is a medical emergency and the faster it is recognised, the more hospital staff can do.
That will be the key message of a special event at Salford Care Organisation on World Stroke Day on Tuesday 29 October (11am-3pm).
The Northern Care Alliance brings together the Salford Royal and Pennine Acute trusts and manages four Care Organisations, Salford, Oldham, Bury & Rochdale, and North Manchester.
The drop-in event for stroke survivors, carers, NHS professionals and the wider community in Mayo Building at Salford Royal Hospital will give an insight into what happens when people have a stroke and the steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of a stroke from occurring.
There will be a chance to find out more about what we can all do to lower our risk of having a stroke, including blood pressure checks, as well as information on what happens in the brain when a stroke happens.
Expert staff from Salford Care Organisation and the Stroke Association will explain how rehabilitation can help recovery after a stroke.
Researchers at the University of Manchester and Salford Care Organisation will highlight some of the past and current studies that are improving diagnosis, care and treatment, including a programme to tackle cognitive decline after stroke and trials of an anti-inflammatory drug to see if it can reduce disability after stroke.
And stroke survivors, doctors and volunteers will talk about rebuilding lives after stroke and dealing with long-term effects, such as fatigue and anxiety.
Stroke Consultant Professor Craig Smith said: “We want our World Stroke Day event to help raise awareness of stroke and the importance of people recognising the symptoms and acting quickly. The FAST test helps to spot the three most common symptoms of stroke – Facial weakness, Arm weakness and Speech problems mean it’s Time to call 999.
“We also want to highlight the treatments and rehabilitation that are available and to let people know how research that’s going on locally is helping to improve the care we give to stroke survivors.
“Stroke is devastating and recovery can be tough but we want people to know that there is specialist support both in the health service and from the Stroke Association.”
Stroke survivor Wendy Westoby (pictured) is supporting the day. She said: “The FAST test proved invaluable to me. I was enjoying a coffee at a garden centre with a friend who fortunately recognised the signs. She immediately rang 999 and within an hour I was being scanned in hospital. I was in hospital for a month and left in a wheelchair but fortunately I have now recovered sufficiently to lead an almost normal life.
“Craig and his colleagues throughout the NHS deserve recognition for all they do in the realm of stroke survivors care.”
The event comes as Salford Care Organisation’s Acute Stroke Unit is celebrating 15 years of providing specialist life-saving treatment for patients from across Greater Manchester. It was also the first hospital in Greater Manchester to have its own dedicated stroke doctor and stroke rehabilitation unit. Salford Hyperacute Stroke Research Unit is one of only eight in the NHS and researchers from the Care Organisation and The University of Manchester are developing new treatments for stroke. Fairfield General Hospital also has an acute stroke unit with eight hyper-acute stroke beds.
Kate Charles, Director at the Stroke Association, said: “When stroke strikes, part of your brain shuts down. And so does a part of you. That’s because a stroke happens in the brain, the control centre for who we are and what we can do. It happens every five minutes in the UK and changes lives instantly.
“Recovery is tough, but with the right specialist support and a ton of courage and determination, the brain can adapt. We hope to see lots of people at the World Stroke Day event where they can find out not only how to prevent the condition, but also how to rebuild their lives after stroke.”
The World Stroke Day event in Mayo Building at Salford Care Organisation is free and you can drop in any time between 11am and 3pm but it would help planning if you can register at http://bit.ly/WSDSalford19
For more information about stroke, visit the Stroke Association website.