South Yorkshire people being helped to spot signs of a stroke early, thanks to Sheffield Hospitals Charity

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South Yorkshire people are being helped to spot the signs of a stroke early, thanks to Sheffield Hospitals Charity.

Cash raised by fundraisers is supporting the work of the city’s stroke service, which hopes to raise further awareness of stroke, and the importance of dialling 999 as soon as one is suspected.

Interventions paid for by the charity include training sessions for ambulance staff, patients and carers, where information is given about recognising the signs of stroke, what to do if stroke is suspected, treatment, and prevention of further strokes.

Amanda Jones, clinical lead for Stroke Services at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “From the minute a stroke happens brain cells start to die, at the rate of nearly two million brain cells per minute. The longer the person waits to get into hospital and access a specialist assessment and early treatment, the more of the brain is destroyed. Even a few minutes delay can impact a patient’s ability to move a limb or not.

“In Sheffield, as well as a having specialist multidisciplinary team who provide expert acute stroke and rehabilitation care, we are very fortunate to have the expertise to carry out cutting edge procedures.

“However such treatments need to be given as soon as possible and within four-and-a-half hours of the stroke happening. By delaying coming into hospital could mean a patient misses out on potentially life changing treatments. This can make the difference of being independent and making an almost complete recovery, to being dependant and in a wheelchair.

“Not everyone who suffers a stroke will be eligible for such treatments, but getting into hospital urgently and being assessed early will ensure better outcomes.”

A stroke is a serious, life-threatening medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, caused by either a clot or a bleed. In the UK, strokes are a major health problem, with someone suffering a stroke every five minutes. It is the third largest cause of death, after heart disease and cancer. The brain injuries caused by strokes are a major cause of adult disability in the UK.

Sheffield Hospitals Charity helps fund various stroke training and education sessions tailored to both ambulance staff, stroke team, and community groups including patients and carers.

The sessions involve a number of approaches, such as simulating a stroke with the use of a medical doll, providing information by expert speakers and sharing information in peer support groups.

“These group sessions have helped awareness of stroke, resulting in a big difference of people being well informed and supported, but the message of early assessment needs to be constant, as some people are still not dialling 999 early enough.

“With funding so tight in the NHS, it’s important we have charity funding to carry on getting key messages about stroke into the public arena, and the importance of getting to hospital urgently,” said Amanda.

Sheffield Hospitals Charity is also enhancing the services offered by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals by funding new chairs and equipment for practice walking steps for patients under their care.

To donate to the city’s stroke service, visit www.sheffieldhospitalscharity.org.uk/stroke