AN enhanced therapy service for patients who have had a stroke is now available at Great Western Hospital.

The Early Supported Discharge programme will enable stroke patients to leave hospital sooner and receive more intensive therapy out in the community and in their own homes.

Patients who have suffered a stroke, are medically-fit and have a suitable environment in their homes will be able to receive intensive physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy as needed, instead of staying in hospital.

This service is the first time the trust has brought intensive therapy outside the hospital environment.

Therapy lead on Forest ward Alex Christiansen said: “This service will be great as Forest patients will now have daily therapy when they go home.

“Not only will it dramatically improve a patient’s experience, by bringing the care out of hospital and helping to get them home quicker, but it will also really benefit us internally by freeing up beds and improving the flow of patients through the hospital.”

This therapy will be aimed at personalised goals and the trust that manages the hospital hopes it will be enhanced by being delivered at home.

The trust’s community stroke team designed the service after receiving investment from the Swindon Clinical Commissioning Group.

Initial trials have been welcomed by patients.

One said: “I feel extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to be part of the Early Supported Discharge programme.

“The fabulous team gave me all the support I needed, when I needed it. They enabled me to leave hospital quicker and return to my home environment where I am now thriving.”

“Being at home has allowed me to properly rest, be with my family and complete daily practical tasks to support my recovery. I simply cannot thank the team enough.”

Recruitment is underway and six additional staff will be employed to support with the service – two have already started.

The service will also include a new ‘stroke passport’ which the trust says will continue to promote continuity of care throughout the pathway.

The changes to the service follow £30 million of national funding that the trust secured last year, which will look to improve services throughout the hospital.

This includes creating an environment that supports intensive rehabilitation for acute patients and those out in the community.