“In Poland, we have access to all modern methods of treating stroke patients. We have a large network of stroke wards, where patients usually arrive quite quickly after the onset of a stroke. We are able to treat stroke in a modern way, but we have a problem all the time with proper care for the patient who usually leaves the stroke unit after 8 or 10 days” says Adam Siger, the President of the Polish stroke support organisation Fundacja Udaru Mózgu and former Board member of SAFE.
SAFE: What is one issue related to the life after stroke in your country that you think needs special attention?
AS: Access to specialist long-term rehabilitation is the biggest problem for people after a stroke, as well as their families and caregivers. we don’t have enough neurological rehabilitation departments. We don’t have enough caring and healing centers where we could accommodate the most difficult patients. We do not have a comprehensive support system for patients and their caregivers after leaving the hospital. Patients with aphasia as well as patients in the coma and in the persistent vegative state (PVS) are not usually admitted to neuro rehabilitation units. Similar problem applies to patients with swallowing disorders and nutrition by intranasal probes. Patients in such post-stroke problems will be left without proper support. A very big problem is access to complete rehabilitation after a stroke for the inhabitants of villages and small towns.
SAFE: What would be the solution, i.e. what is your organisation’s position regarding this issue?
AS: Since the beginning of our activity, our foundation has been undertaking a number of activities to increase the availability of modern rehabilitation and support for carers. We already have some small successes in this area but there is still a lot to do. We need to create a stroke national program for prophylaxis, treatment and rehabilitation. We believe that it is possible to consolidate the activities of many medical environments to create such a program. Every year, around 80,000 in Poland suffer from stroke. Stroke is a serious health problem but also social and economic. We hope that in the near future we will be able to interest politicians and decision-makers to create a working group in parliament that will deal with all problems related to stroke. We would like to interest politicians and decision-makers at the central and local levels to improve the situation of people after stroke
SAFE: Please tell us more about your organisation.
AS: Fundacja Udaru Mózgu is a non-governmental organization whose main goal is to help stroke patients, their families and carers. Our mission is all activities in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of stroke. The Foundation’s activities also include prevention. Our publications on stroke, its effects and prevention are a valuable source of knowledge for the general public. We create social campaigns aimed at realizing the threat that this disease carries, using modern mass media.
We provide direct material and immaterial help to patients after stroke, their family and people with other neurological diseases. We run the only helpline in Poland for stroke patients and their carers.
We publish the Stroke Magazine “1 in 6” in Poland which we distribute for free at neurological departments and neurological rehabilitation throughout the country for free. The magazine is available for free on the Internet too www.magazynudarowy.pl
Thanks to the constant contact with patients from all over Poland, we know how important support and assistance is for people after a stroke.