HOSPITAL stays for people in east Cheshire people who have had a stroke are set to fall by up to six days after a new community service is launched next month.

NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group designed and funded the service to bring together a range of health and care workers to help people maximise their recovery from a stroke after hospital treatment.

The Integrated Community Stroke Rehabilitation Service will be provided by University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, which has been awarded a three-year contract by the CCG to a value of £1.5 million.

The service will provide care closer to home. Doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists from the trust will work with social care staff from Cheshire East Council to meet patients’ physical, psychological and social needs.

The service will see up to 300 patients a year, with the type and intensity of rehabilitation determined by the severity of the stroke and patients’ needs.

Average length of rehabilitation will be about six weeks, with input for up to five days a week and 45 minutes per session. However, rehabilitation for up to six months may be necessary for some patients.

During patients’ hospital stay there will be careful discharge planning with the ICSRS, then contact will be made between the ICSRS and the patient within 48 hours of discharge from hospital, with the first assessment taking place within seven days.

Dr Sarah Oliver, a local GP and the CCG’s clinical lead for stroke care, said: “The new service will provide a package of community-based care that will reduce patients’ length of hospital stay.

“This is good news for patients who are, understandably, keen to avoid long stays in hospital, and this will improve their experience of care and chances of a good recovery following a stroke.

“It will also free up vital beds for other patients while cutting costs arising from prolonged hospital stays.

“The service has been shaped by listening events we held with stroke survivors and their carers.

“These conversations helped us find out what worked well for them, what didn’t and what they felt was important, not just immediately after the stroke but in the longer term too.

“Stroke survivors want to return home, get back to work and reconnect socially with their families and communities wherever possible.

“Currently, the services that facilitate this are lacking and there are gaps in the system, with patients ready to return home sometimes having to wait a long time for community rehabilitation.

“The new service will join up the gaps in the current system, improving patients’ quality of life by providing better access to support services.”