- Only one in five stroke patients receives information or advice about the emotional impact of having a stroke
- Two thirds of patients suffer depression and anxiety
- Half of marriages are put under strain by a stroke and 30 per cent end in divorce after patient leaves hospital
- Strokes are biggest cause of adult disability in the UK
Almost half of stroke survivors feel ‘abandoned’ when they leave hospital, warns a leading charity.
Barely one in five receive any information or practical advice on the emotional impact of having a stroke – unlike the support given to cancer patients.
Yet two thirds of people who survive a stroke suffer depression and anxiety, and fear of having another stroke.
A new report from the Stroke Association says the toll taken on families is underestimated, with half of married couples finding their relationship under strain.
Of these, a survey found nearly three in 10 had broken up with their partner or were considering leaving.
Strokes affect around 152,000 Britons each year, with the resulting brain damage being the largest cause of adult disability in the UK.
In a new survey 2,700 people affected by stroke said the emotional effects of stroke were ‘as devastating as the physical effects’.
Hospital care was highly rated by stroke survivors and their families, but 42 per cent said they felt abandoned after leaving hospital.
Although most cancer units provide patients with information about sources of support and advice on emotional wellbeing, this was lacking for 79 per cent of stroke survivors when they left hospital.
Figures show NHS costs are higher for patients with long-term health problems who are also depressed, and they are four times more likely to die prematurely.
The survey says the plight of carers is overlooked. One in three is ill-prepared for their new role when their loved one comes home from hospital – rising to three-quarters after nine months.
‘Many carers have told us they feel they have to fight tooth and nail to get services they or their loved ones need’ says the report.
Jon Barrick, chief executive of The Stroke Association, said: ‘Stroke leaves survivors and families shocked, shaken and anxious as their lives are often irreversibly changed in an instant.
Two thirds of people who survive a stroke suffer depression and anxiety, and fear of having another stroke
‘There are over one million stroke survivors living in the UK and with an ageing population this figure is only set to increase.
‘Better recognition by health and social care professionals of the impact of stroke will help people to be properly assessed and get the right support.’
The charity is calling for all patients and families to be given access to information, practical advice and emotional support after suffering a stroke.
Professor Reg Morris, clinical psychologist at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, said: ‘Depression, anxiety and fear of another stroke are common feelings among those touched by the condition and in the most extreme cases people can be left feeling suicidal.
‘Better recognition of the emotional effects of stroke by health and social care professionals is essential in order to address the need for integrated psychological support for survivors and their families.
‘We know that with the right emotional, psychological and physical care more stroke survivors will have the opportunity to make their best possible recovery.’