Acute care

Research shows that patients treated in specialist stroke units have better outcomes than those treated in a general hospital ward. A specialist stroke unit will have a multi-disciplinary team of specialist including stroke physicians, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists.

“Stroke units, staffed with a stroke specialist multi-disciplinary team, are the single most effective intervention in delivering improved outcomes. And some interventions that have been shown to improve outcomes, such as thrombolysis, can only be delivered where there is well organised stroke care and high-quality acute stroke units. This is also true of newer procedures such as thrombectomy (clot retrieval).” Stroke Action Plan for Europe. (

Stroke guidelines suggest that testing for swallowing problems quickly is important, and that helping patients to sit up and move as much as possible, as quickly as possible, is beneficial. Regular and intensive and rehabilitation therapy is of benefit and people seem to make the most progress in the early days and weeks after their stroke. This example is from the UK’s national clinical guideline for stroke:


Stroke survivors and their carers need a lot of support to facilitate discharge from hospital. Some people may be discharged into a rehabilitation facility, for ongoing, intense physiotherapy. For those being discharged into the community, a care plan to meet their ongoing needs for support, therapy and future care is essential, and should include an assessment of their home environment and what adaptations may be needed.