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Stroke survivors survey published

Posted on 24/11/2010

A study led by King’s College London, commissioned by The Stroke Association, reveals for the first time the extent of the financial impact of having a stroke, making stroke survivors amongst the most vulnerable in society.

The UK Stroke Survivor Needs Survey, carried out by the Division of Health and Social Care Research at King’s, shows that more than half of the people employed at the time of their stroke (52 per cent) said it had a negative impact on their work, meaning they had to reduce their hours or give up work entirely.

Data was gathered from a total of 799 respondents throughout the UK making the study the first of its size to offer a compelling and accurate reflection of the challenges that stroke survivors face.

A fifth of people (18 per cent) said they had a loss of income since their stroke and a third (33 per cent) said they had to endure an increase in expenses, such as making adaptations to their home or having to pay more to heat their home during the day because they cannot work. The report also showed that people who had difficultly speaking and communicating after their stroke were significantly more likely to experience problems with their work, income and increased expenses.

The survey aimed to find out the extent of problems people have to deal with following a stroke. It found that almost half of those questioned had on average three unmet needs, meaning that they weren’t getting any support or help with their problems.

Dr Christopher McKevitt, the survey lead at King’s, said: ‘Much of the previous research into stroke has focused on hospital care and this is the first time that the difficulties stroke survivors face when they get home have been looked at in detail. Our research shows that stroke is a long-term condition and the appropriate support is needed to help address these problems.’

Joe Korner, Director of Communications for The Stroke Association said: ‘This report paints a bleak picture of stroke survivors struggling to make ends meet. The survey revealed that over half of people (54 percent) didn’t receive the information they needed after their stroke, such as advice on diet and benefits entitlements. We know that many people have to give up work and go on benefits to survive hand-to-mouth, so it’s distressing to find out, that despite the progress made in improving stroke provision in recent years, people aren’t getting the support they need.

‘We are worried that existing services to help people with their communication problems, paid for by local authorities and Primary Care Trusts may now be under threat. With local authorities having to cut spending by 7 percent a year it’s possible they will raise the eligibility criteria to receive care. It is vital that stroke survivors do not fall into a black hole.’

Notes to editors

About the report

In total 799 stroke survivors took part in the questionnaire throughout the UK during 2009/10.

It was conducted by a team of researchers from Kings College London, Oxford University, Leeds University and the Medical Research Council General Practice Research Framework.

Participants were recruited from general practices in the Medical Research Council General Practice Research Framework across the UK. A second sample was recruited from two population based stroke registers to validate responses achieved from the practice based sample.

King's College London

King's College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world (2010 QS international world rankings), The Sunday Times 'University of the Year 2010/11' and the fourth oldest in England. A research-led university based in the heart of London, King's has nearly 23,000 students (of whom more than 8,600 are graduate students) from nearly 140 countries, and some 5,500 employees. King's is in the second phase of a £1 billion redevelopment programme which is transforming its estate.

King's has an outstanding reputation for providing world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise for British universities, 23 departments were ranked in the top quartile of British universities; over half of our academic staff work in departments that are in the top 10 per cent in the UK in their field and can thus be classed as world leading. The College is in the top seven UK universities for research earnings and has an overall annual income of nearly £450 million.

King's has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, the sciences (including a wide range of health areas such as psychiatry, medicine, nursing and dentistry) and social sciences including international affairs. It has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA and research that led to the development of radio, television, mobile phones and radar. It is the largest centre for the education of healthcare professionals in Europe; no university has more Medical Research Council Centres.

King's College London and Guy's and St Thomas', King's College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts are part of King's Health Partners. King's Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) is a pioneering global collaboration between one of the world's leading research-led universities and three of London's most successful NHS Foundation Trusts, including leading teaching hospitals and comprehensive mental health services.

The Stroke Association

150,000 people have a stroke in the UK and it’s the UK’s third biggest killer.

A stroke is a brain attack which happens when the blood supply to the brain is cut off, caused by a clot or bleeding in the brain. A stroke can be diagnosed by using FAST – Facial weakness, Arm weakness, Speech problems, Time to call 999.  If any of these symptoms are present call an ambulance straight away.

The Stroke Association campaigns, educates and informs to increase knowledge of stroke at all levels of society acting as a voice for everyone affected by stroke. The charity funds research into prevention, treatment, better methods of rehabilitation and helps stroke patients and their families directly through its community support services as well as providing information through its helpline, leaflets and factsheets.

The Stroke Helpline provides information on stroke to the general public and is open between 9.00 – 17.00 Monday to Friday on 0303 303 3100.

For further information please contact Emma Reynolds, Press Officer at King’s College London, on 0207 848 4334 or email


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