Too many stroke survivors have to wait too long to get an assessment of their rehabilitation needs and to actually receive therapy. Across Europe the aim should be for multi-disciplinary assessments to take place on the stroke unit, and for rehabilitation to start as soon as someone is medically stable.
Access to rehabilitation therapy must be improved. There is a particular lack of occupational, speech and psychological therapy across Europe.
Too many stroke survivors leave hospital without on-going rehabilitation being in place. This is of particular concern for Early Supported Discharge (ESD) schemes. The evidence is clear that the effectiveness of ESD schemes relies upon access to rehabilitation at the same intensity as would have been provided on the stroke unit.
Ongoing, long-term support and follow up is inadequate in many parts of Europe. We call for national systems to be developed to ensure stroke survivors’ needs are reviewed and followed up.
Countries should set targets for secondary prevention, screening for depression, and for psychological and social support.