In updated guidance, The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is recommending that stroke sufferers who have continuing impairments should be offered additional rehabilitation.
The evidence reviewed by the independent committee for the update showed more intensive rehabilitation improved quality of life and activities of daily living. They also heard from people recovering from stroke, and their families and carers, who felt strongly that more intensive rehabilitation would be useful in helping them to recover faster.
Professor Jonathan Benger, Chief Medical Officer at NICE, said:
“We recognise the challenges the system faces in delivering these recommendations, not least the problems inherent in increasing service capacity and staff. We also know current practice is inconsistent, even when it comes to implementing our previous recommendations.
“But equally it shouldn’t be underestimated how important it is for people who have been left with disabilities following a stroke to be given the opportunity to benefit from the intensity and duration of rehabilitation therapies outlined in this updated guideline.
“By focusing on what matters most, we need to find ways to enable people who have had a stroke to access the level of rehabilitation that supports their recovery and meets their long-term needs and goals.”
Jon Brown, director of strategic partnerships, Barnardo’s and chair of the guideline committee, said:
"The impacts of stroke are significant and this updated guideline provides a comprehensive, current, evidence-led synthesis of best practice in stroke rehabilitation. The guideline committee comprised an impressive mix of clinical and lived experience and this product of the committee's work will make a significant contribution to improving outcomes for stroke survivors."
Dr Maeva May, associate director for policy and research at the Stroke Association, said:
“We warmly welcome the announcement that NICE is recommending an increase in rehabilitation therapies for people who are recovering from stroke. Sadly, stroke is still a leading cause of adult disability and it has wide-ranging impacts so it’s vital that every stroke survivor gets the support they need to give them the best chance of recovery.
“Research shows that frequent and more intense rehabilitation leads to better recovery following a stroke but many stroke survivors only receive a fraction of what this guideline recommends, leaving many without support and limiting their improvement post-stroke.
“Every stroke is different and so is every recovery, so it’s important that stroke survivors can access person-centred support for as long as they need it, so they can regain their independence and rebuild their lives after stroke.”