High performing stroke services at West Suffolk Hospital
Stroke services at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust continue to improve according to the latest Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme (SSNAP) scores, with the Trust rated joint 6th nationally out of 144 trusts routinely admitting stroke patients in England and Wales.
SSNAP is the national source of stroke data for the NHS and audits stroke services throughout the whole pathway of care: from admission to hospital, across the whole inpatient stay, including rehabilitation at home or in the community, and outcomes at six months after stroke.
In results for August to November 2016, West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’s stroke services were rated an A overall, with a total score of 87; the hospital’s highest overall rating yet. According to the Royal College of Physicians, which manages the programme, ‘To achieve an ‘A’ in SSNAP reports indicates world class performance’.
The most impressive result for the hospital was within its Speech and Language Therapy (SALT) department, which received an A; the team’s highest rating ever.
Dr Ann Nicolson, consultant and stroke services lead, at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We work really hard to meet the national care standards for stroke to ensure the best outcomes for our patients. The latest results show higher scores for the period in a number of areas, with a major success for our SALT team, achieving an increase of two levels to an A grade.
“This is the first time our SALT department has been rated since increasing staff levels and implementing six day a week working. This ensures there is always a SALT therapist available, including at the weekend, for all our patients - stroke or otherwise. When families visit at weekends our therapists can advise family members about their relative’s condition, and instruct them on how best to support their loved one’s recovery.”
Donald Jennings, 56, has been treated by the SALT department at West Suffolk Hospital for a month so far, since he returned from Spain after suffering a stroke on holiday. He has already shown huge improvement since beginning therapy and is starting to use his speech and voice again. When asked how he felt his conversation level now was with his wife, he described it as good, via the conversation board used in speech therapy.
In addition, Donald could only walk with assistance when he came to West Suffolk but is now able to walk and stand unassisted. Donald feels the care and therapy he has received to
Gina Jennings, Donald’s wife, said: “The therapists have been amazing here, and so supportive. Don has come a long way in such a short space of time, we couldn’t thank them enough. We feel they are always there, whenever we have a question. They say we are good students of the techniques they use, but it’s because we have the best teachers.”
Joanne Williams, clinical specialist speech and language therapist, at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, added: “By increasing the time we dedicate to patients we have achieved a better quality of care, teaching them more in depth techniques to aid speech and swallowing; two key human functions that contribute hugely to patients’ quality of life. The sooner we can help a patient eat and drink normally, and eliminate the need for nil by mouth, the more independent and nourished they will be. Likewise, the easier a patient can communicate with their relatives and health professionals the less isolated and withdrawn they may feel. Time and again we have seen the positive effects this has on patients’ wellbeing and the entire SALT team are rightly proud of the care and results we are delivering for our patients.”
Other areas of the Trust’s stroke services audited found:
- 75.4% of patients were directly admitted to the stroke unit within four hours (national average 58.5%)
- 74.9% of patients were directly admitted to the stroke unit within four hours and assessed for thrombolysis – treatment to dissolve dangerous blood clots (national average 58.1%)
- 71.1% of days as an inpatient on which SALT is received (national average 48.1%)
- 77% of applicable patients who are assessed by a nurse within 24 hours and at least one therapist within 24 hours and all relevant therapists within 72 hours and have rehab goals agreed within five days (national average 61.8%)