A stroke is a serious life-threatening medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. Strokes are a medical emergency and urgent treatment is essential. If you think that you or someone else is having a stroke, phone 999 immediately for an ambulance.
The main symptoms of stroke can be remembered with the word F.A.S.T:
Face – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have dropped
Arms – the person with suspected stroke may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in one arm
Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake
Time – it’s time to dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms
The sooner a person receives treatment for a stroke, the less damage is likely to happen.
Lagan Valley Hospital Stroke Services
Multidisciplinary stroke rehabilitation is provided within Ward 14 in Lagan Valley Hospital. Most patients from the Lisburn area are initially admitted to the Belfast Trust for assessment following a stroke, but following investigations they may be transferred to Lagan Valley Hospital for a period of inpatient rehabilitation and assessment. Rehabilitation is provided by a multidisciplinary team of specialist nurses and therapists under the medical supervision of a consultant physician. The stroke team meet twice weekly to review every patient’s progress, set goals for therapy and plan appropriate discharge arrangements. Once discharged from hospital, ongoing rehabilitation can then be provided by therapists from the Community Stroke Team.
A weekly Neurovascular clinic is held at Lagan Valley Hospital. Low risk patients with suspected TIA’s patients are assessed, and managed at this clinic and appropriate investigations arranged. Planned reviews of stroke patients following discharge from inpatient care takes place once weekly at a separate clinic.
The Downe Hospital Stroke Services
The stroke unit in the Downe Hospital is located in Ward 1; this unit provides acute care and rehabilitation following a stroke. Stroke patients from the Downpatrick area who are initially admitted to the Ulster Hospital following their stroke will be transferred to the Downe Hospital for rehabilitation. On admission to the ward you will be introduced to your stroke nurse, she will support you and your family during your hospital stay and will review your progress at home following discharge. Rehabilitation is provided by some or all of the stroke team depending on need. The team meet weekly to review every patient’s progress, set goals for therapy and discuss discharge arrangements. If ongoing rehabilitation is required following discharge this can be provided by the Community Stroke Team.
A weekly Neurovascular clinic is held. TIA patients are assessed, investigated and managed at this clinic as well as review of stroke patients following discharge from Ward 1.
Ulster Hospital Stroke Services
The South Eastern HSC Trust provides a comprehensive multidisciplinary stroke service. It is regionally the second busiest Comprehensive Stroke Unit in Northern Ireland. The Stroke Unit is located on Ward 3C of the new inpatient ward block at the Ulster Hospital. The service provides Hyperacute (HASU) and Acute (ASU) treatments for stroke including ‘clot buster’ drugs for appropriate patients and provides direct transfer to Regional Thrombectomy Service in Belfast.
Rehabilitation commences on the day of admission to the Stroke Unit. This will be provided by some or all of the Specialist Stroke team dependent on assessed need. The Stroke team meet daily to review every patients progress, set goals for therapy and discuss discharge arrangements.
There are several pathways if ongoing rehabilitation is needed. Continuing rehab following discharge is supported by the Community Stroke team.
Transient Ischaemic Attack
Patients have access to daily specialist TIA clinics across the Trust, through referral from their GP or Accident and Emergency Department.
A TIA is a warning that you are at risk of a full blown stroke occurring. The symptoms of a TIA are the same as a stroke but may only last for a few minutes sometimes longer.
Our advice is if you have new symptoms – Contact your GP / or out of hours GP immediately, asking for an emergency appointment as you think you have the symptoms of a TIA.
Patients who experience a Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) will have access to daily specialist TIA clinics across the Trust (Monday – Friday), and will be assessed via the medical assessment units (Saturday – Sunday) through referral from their GP or Accident and Emergency Department.
Patients are reminded to recognise stroke through the FAST test and to attend hospital immediately if they feel they may be having a stroke.
Out patients Service
A rapid access TIA clinic is available at the Ulster Hospital. This clinic offers rapid assessment of suspected TIAs with access to urgent investigations when needed.
Stroke review service All patients with stroke are reviewed 6 weeks and 6 months after discharge, focusing on any remaining effects of their stroke and prevention of further stroke.
- Stroke Association: www.stroke.org.uk
- Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke: www.nichs.org.uk
- Northern Ireland Multidisciplinary Association of Stroke Teams: www.nimast.org.uk