The response to the Covid-19 pandemic caused significant disruption to non-Covid clinical services. Stroke services were no exception, undergoing a period of rapid change to cope with the consequences of the pandemic. These included reduced admissions, fewer referrals for transient ischaemic attack (TIA), Covid-19 outbreaks and staff sickness.
New ways of working were developed that complied with requirements to minimise face-to-face contact between patients and healthcare professionals while maintaining high quality stroke care.
In response to this situation a collaboration between the Oxford AHSN and the stroke leads for the Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme has produced practical support for stroke teams across England including:
- a guide on restoration and recovery following a period of rapid change along the whole patient pathway – read more here
- an implementation guide for adapting acute services during the pandemic – read more here
Both guides include feedback and case studies from frontline services.
Restoration and recovery
Restoration and recovery of stroke services during the Covid-19 pandemic assesses the impact of rapid changes made across the whole stroke pathway – including community services – at the peak of the pandemic, outlining new ways of working which have been beneficial for both patients and staff and should be continued and extended. It also aims to highlight those changes which now need a closer look and prevent a return to less effective ways of working.
Adapting stroke services
The Covid-19 pandemic presents major challenges to healthcare systems around the world. The response to it has had a profound effect on other clinical services. Reduced admissions, falling TIA referrals, Covid-19 outbreaks and staff sickness have all put stroke services under strain. Rapid changes in services have been needed to sustain high-quality stroke care. The immediate need was to minimise face-to-face interactions between patients and healthcare professionals where alternative models of care can be implemented. Adapting stroke services in the Covid-19 pandemic: an implementation guide supports this process.