Half of stroke survivors have unmet needs for support to address issues such as memory problems, fatigue and emotional concerns, as services are threatened with cuts, the largest UK survey of the client group has found.
The Stroke Association said the study it commissioned painted a "bleak picture", particularly at a time when local authorities and primary care trusts were making or considering cuts to support services on the back of last month's government spending review.
The three-year study, led by King's College, London, gathered data from 799 stroke survivors to address gaps in research into the long-term needs of people who have had strokes.
It found that 49% of survivors had at least one unmet need after their stroke. Fifty-eight per cent had faced problems with mobility and in a quarter of these cases their needs had been unmet; 52% had needs to address fatigue (43% unmet); 43% had memory problems (59% unmet); and 38% had emotional problems (39% unmet).
"This report paints a bleak picture of stroke survivors struggling to make ends meet," said Joe Korner, director of communications at The Stroke Association. "It's distressing to find out that, despite the progress made in improving stroke provision in recent years, people aren't getting the support the need.
"We are worried that existing services to help people with their communication problems, paid for by local authorities and PCTs, may now be under threat. With local authorities having to cut spending by 7% a year, it's possible they will raise eligibility criteria to receive care. It is vital that stroke survivors do not fall into a black hole."
The Stroke Association has already seen cuts to its own services. For instance, Wandsworth Council has stopped funding a family and carer support service in the London borough.
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Aftercare services for stroke victims