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National priority project: Stroke

Stepping Out - the successful new approach towards stroke patient self management

Key to successful stroke rehabilitation is consistency. For this project, we teamed up with Stepping Out, a stroke self-management programme, to create a revolutionary approach to consistent stroke rehabilitation.

'...create a standardised, holistic approach to stroke rehabilitation so that patients experience a seamless transition between services...'

Anecdotal evidence exists of certain individuals overcoming initial stroke disabilities through sheer determination. But how can we harness such success into every case?

Three essential areas needed to be addressed, to:

  • develop the skills of our therapists and carers so that this is the rule, rather than the anomaly,
  • empower patients to develop their own self-management programme to achieve their recovery goals and
  • create a standardised, holistic approach to stroke rehabilitation so that patients experience a seamless transition between services.

Begun in April 2009, the project involved stroke survivors from Mayday Hospital in Croydon. The aim was to link patients with cross-boundary staff -- inpatient and community rehabilitation teams, local authority staff and primary care professionals -- to identify and promote a consistent approach to patient-centred rehabilitation.

The Network and Stepping Out trained and supported service providers to work with stroke survivors to set, measure and evaluate their personal goals. By doing so, we effectively passed control of stroke rehabilitation back to the patient as we encouraged increasing levels of confidence within themselves.

The project clearly 'put people at the centre of decision making about the care they receive,' in alignment with the governmental white paper on supporting people with long term conditions (LTCs). It also supported several elements of the National Stroke Strategy, including access to specialist rehabilitation, transfer of care, and long term care and support.

Thus far, the team has trained 24 practitioners in Croydon, who are now implementing the Stepping Out approach in their work with stroke survivors. The project has been carefully monitored and measured and, upon being proven feasible and successful, will be rolled out to the entire sector.

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About Stepping Out

Stepping Out is a programme developed in consultation with stroke survivors, and informed by a multiprofessional group of experts in stroke and self-management.

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