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Patients & Public > Research using SSNAP data > Plain English Summaries > Do stroke patients receive different care in winter?

Lay summary: Do stroke patients receive different care in winter?

A stroke unit (SU) is a hospital ward specialised for stroke patients. Stroke units have doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals who are specially trained in stroke care. Stroke units also have access to specialist stroke treatments, therapies, and links to community support teams. Previous research has shown that stroke patients who receive care on a stroke unit are more likely to be alive, independent, and living at home one year after stroke (source: Stroke Unit Trialists’ Collaboration, 2013). As a result, it is important that stroke patients are taken directly to the stroke unit once it has been confirmed they have had a stroke.

However, hospital overcrowding, particularly during winter months, may delay stroke patients’ access to SU care. This study found that in winter, on average 5% fewer patients spent most of their hospital stay on an SU (compared to the summer months). This means that each winter, roughly 1000 fewer patients spent most of their hospital stay on an SU (than in summer). Stroke care providers need to maintain access to specialist stroke units during times of winter pressures and hospital overcrowding.

About the poster:
Paper title: 'Do patients take longer to arrive on a specialist stroke unit in winter? Data from the national stroke registry for England, Wales, and Northern Ireland'.
Year published: 2019
Authors: George Dunn, Victoria McCurran, Kaili Stanley, Alex Hoffman, Charles Wolfe, Martin James, Anthony Rudd.

View the full poster here.
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