A dedicated stroke unit has been officially opened at Kettering General Hospital.
The new unit is in the Cranford Unit Ward Block and has 24 beds, split over two floors, and means for the first time that stroke patients at Kettering General Hospital will have a dedicated facility.
The hospital is one of six hospital trusts taking part in the Academy of Geratology Excellence (Age) Programme in the UK in partnership with the University of Bedfordshire.
Stroke patients were previously cared for in the Naseby Ward block but staff there also cared for older patients with other medical conditions.
In the new unit, 12 beds on the top floor will be for continuing care of acute stroke patients and 12 beds on the ground floor are for patients who need rehabilitation for a number of days or weeks before they are able to be discharged home or into community care.
There is a treatment room, consultation room and waiting area for a rapid access neuro vascular clinic.
GPs refer patients to this clinic if they suspect they may have had a TIA – a kind of mini-stroke.
There is a therapy room – where the 12 patients who are suitable for therapy have their rehabilitation.
This could include physiotherapy, occupational therapy, such as dressing, washing and cooking assessments, and speech and language therapy.
The new unit was officially opened by Shirley and John Newman and their team, who run John Newman Hairdressing and Beauty in Bridge Street, Rothwell, and who have raised more than £3,600 for the unit after John had a stroke in February last year.
They took part in events like a sponsored walk around Pitsford Reservoir last year.
Stroke service co-ordinator Tracey Ingram said: “This is a significant improvement to our facilities for stroke patients who come to Kettering General Hospital for rehabilitation care after receiving emergency care at Northampton General Hospital.
“The Cranford Stroke Unit enables us to organise various aspects of specialist stroke care all together under one roof.
“We can hold the special TIA clinics here for people with suspected ‘mini-strokes’, we can carry out improved rehabilitation in our rehabilitation room – which has been equipped partly through donations from charitable funds – and we have all of our specialist multi-disciplinary team working together in the same environment.
“The end result is better and more dedicated and joined-up care for stroke patients.”
Stewart Grange, 55, of Desborough, was a stroke patient on Naseby Ward at Kettering General Hospital in 2010 and is now lead volunteer in Northamptonshire for the Stroke Association.
He said: “I had a stroke in 2010 and was a patient for a week on Naseby Ward.
“It must be said the Cranford Stroke Unit is an improvement because of the way it puts all of the key staff together in the one place. It creates a kind of centre of excellence and I think it will really make a difference to improving the care for people who have had strokes.”
Kettering General Hospital director of nursing and quality Clare Culpin said: “This is one of the first improvements we have made as part of our Age programme.
“Stroke is a condition that particularly affects older people and the aim of our programme is to improve many different aspects of care related to older people, so this was an obvious place to start.
“We have plans to improve lots of other areas of care in the coming months and years.”