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The new Specialist Stroke Rehabilitation Inpatient Unit is staffed by a multidisciplinary team

This week saw the opening of the Specialist Stroke Rehabilitation Inpatient Unit at Vale Community Hospital, Dursley.

The purpose of the new unit, located within Peak View Ward, is to bridge the current gap in post-stroke care in Gloucestershire; giving people who have suffered a stroke maximum opportunity to recover and adapt in the best possible environment. Specialist rehabilitation is widely recognised as an essential part of recovery after stroke – providing significant health and social care benefits for patients over the longer term.

The Specialist Stroke Rehabilitation Unit is there for patients who no longer need specialist medical care in Gloucestershire Royal Hospital (GRH), but still require stroke rehabilitation that cannot be delivered at home.

The unit, which has 14 specialist stroke beds and six general rehabilitation beds, is staffed by a multidisciplinary team including doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, rehabilitation assistants and hotel services. A psychologist will be joining the team soon.

Professional Head of Adult Physiotherapy in Gloucestershire Care Services, Sarah Morton, said: “The Specialist Stroke Rehabilitation Unit came about following the findings of an NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group review, which examined the stroke rehabilitation pathways in Gloucestershire.

“The report concluded that although there were lots of elements of really good service provision within the county, there wasn’t a seamless pathway for stroke rehabilitation. The Stroke Unit at The Vale is a centralised, co-ordinated unit where we can focus our resources.

“The development of this unit has been a result of collaborative partnership working between commissioners and clinicians from Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, community organisations, patient representatives and a range of key stakeholders.

“By providing a community bed-based service here at Vale Community Hospital, we aim to continue the rehabilitation journey for patients following a stroke in a suitable, fit-for-purpose environment.

“When patients no longer need inpatient specialist stroke rehabilitation, and if it is safe and effective for them to have rehabilitation in their own home, they will receive ongoing support from community stroke specialist nurses or the Early Supported Discharge (ESD) community team, including community stroke specialist nurses, specialist therapists and rehabilitation assistants.”

The opening of the new unit at Vale Community Hospital means Gloucestershire has its own dedicated community stroke rehabilitation service for the first time, in line with national recommendations for therapy provision following a stroke.