Stroke awareness month in held throughout the month of May and world stroke day is held on 29 October each year.
Stroke is the largest cause of disability in the UK and the fourth biggest killer. In West Yorkshire and Harrogate, around 3000 people a year have a stroke with two thirds of stroke survivors left with some form of physical, mental or emotional disability – often completely life changing.
The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership has a group of patients, families and carers affected by stroke that share their experiences and help to shape the future of stroke services and this is part of the Integrated Stroke Delivery Network (ISDN) remit of work. The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Integrated Stroke Delivery Network has been established, to enable services to work more closely together and share best practice, with the aim of delivering the best care possible for the people of West Yorkshire and Harrogate.
Patient representatives ensure the views of people with lived experience of stroke are included in the planning, delivery, and evaluation of the ISDN’s work. If you have been affected by stroke and would like to get join you can visit the website and find out more.
The message from the members of the ISDN is to urge people not to ignore signs and symptoms that could be potentially life changing and life threatening. With thanks to three of our stroke assurance group patient representatives that kindly answered some Q&As. They share with us their experiences:
Click on the link to read the full Q&A document.
Q. Geoff, can you tell us briefly about your experience of having a stroke?
A. I had my stroke on 30 September 2015. I was aged 37. I was pretty healthy as I did a triathlon a few weeks earlier. I did not realise I’d had a stroke in my sleep. I was at my grandma’s house in Bridlington. I woke up and my arm did not seem to work. I got a bit of movement and thought I had trapped a nerve in my shoulder. I had lots going on at the time; my dad was in hospital in Scarborough, and I needed to get back to Leeds to work so I got in car and drove 20 miles. I lifted my arm and it had stopped working again so I pulled up and tried to get help. I even tried to flag a police car. I ended up driving a further 10 miles when I walked into a GP surgery. I saw the GP who then called an ambulance. I was in York hospital for three days. I thought the stroke would be a blip and I would be back to life soon, nearly seven years on the ‘small stroke’” still affects me a lot. Read Geoff's story here.
Q. Richard, can you tell us briefly about your experience of having a stroke?
A: My stroke happened at 7.30am on the morning of 4th December 2017. I felt odd. I was having a Stroke. It was a left-handed stroke which meant I had my right-hand side movement curtailed. I had a numb feeling on that side and my vision had become warped - much like that of looking through binoculars the wrong way. My speech was slurred, and I could not pronounce the words properly. My wife recognised immediately that I had a stroke. Read more by clicking here.
Q. Gary, can you tell us briefly about your experience of having a stroke?
A: In 1994 at the age of 31 I was struck down by stroke. At the time I had a successful career, a young family and had always been reasonably physically fit and participated in various sports, yet here I was impacted by 'an older person’s illness' It was a long battle to regain a degree of health and one that ultimately cost me. Read more by clicking here.
Q. Nathan, can you tell us briefly about your experience of having a stroke?
A: It’s been a real journey! From the initial shock of a healthy 36-year-old, being admitted to hospital and in those early weeks and months the worry of how much function I might be able to regain. Trying to engage in physio sessions when neuro-fatigue was telling me to just sleep!! That said I’m in a really happy place now coming up to six years post stroke. I know what I’m capable of and accept help when required to do the tasks I can’t for myself. Read more by clicking.
The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Integrated Stroke Delivery Network
The Integrated Stroke Delivery Network are looking to recruit more patient and carer representatives, who have experience of living with or caring for someone affected by stroke, to form a stroke patient and carer assurance group.