The Stroke Early Supported Discharge Team (ESD) was set up 10 years ago in 2011 to enable people with mild to moderate strokes to leave hospital more quickly and to receive specialist stroke therapy at home for up to 6 weeks.
At first the service was focused on the Gloucester and Forest of Dean area but they soon extended the service to Cheltenham and Tewkesbury later that year and, in 2012, they moved into Stroud and the Cotswolds to become a truly countywide service.
Of over 1,000 admissions to hospital a year in Gloucestershire for strokes, around 350 of those are seen by our ESD team. The service works to provide specialist stroke rehabilitation throughout the week in the patient’s own home. This enables them to get home more quickly from stroke units at Gloucestershire Royal and Cheltenham General Hospitals as well as the Stroke Rehabilitation Rehab Unit at the Vale Hospital. This is better for the patient, with better outcomes when in the home setting and better for the busy acute hospitals.
The 30-strong multi-disciplinary team comprises physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, nurses, a psychologist, rehabilitation assistants and administrators. Based at the Independent Living Centre in Cheltenham, the team travel across the county.
The team care for our patients for up to six weeks with a focus on enabling each individual to regain their independence; whether in self-care, mobility, communication, leisure activities, driving, family roles or work.
The stroke specialist community nurses see the patients at 6 weeks and follow them up at 6 months, supporting patients and their families on what is often a challenging journey to recovery.
Stroke Specialist Physiotherapist and ESD Team Lead Kirsten Stillman is so proud of achieving this milestone:
“Over the past ten years we have supported patients across the county, we have been able to demonstrate how our service provides clear improvements in the quality of life and independence of our patients. We all so proud of our achievements over this time and the way the team has continued to provide excellent therapy and support to our patients throughout the pandemic. The team has worked really well together to continue to put our patients’ needs first and also in supporting each other. We have supported well over 3,000 patients since we started the service; it is such a fantastic team to work with and we look forward to the next ten years”.