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Move to improve stroke rehabilitation services in Eastern Devon


STROKE patients in Eastern Devon will benefit from more joined up services this spring when a rehabilitation unit relocates to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.

This move is the final stage in completing recommendations from a 2013 consultation led by Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the Stroke Association.

In April, inpatient stroke rehabilitation facilities at Ottery St Mary Community Hospital will be transferred to Yealm Ward at the RD&E, next to the Trust’s acute stroke care inpatient facilities on Clyst Ward. Stroke rehabilitation patients will benefit from 24-hour medical cover at the RD&E site and a wide range of specialist staff support, including therapists and dieticians.

Hospital rehabilitation services currently situated on Yealm Ward at the RD&E are moving into the community, as developments in care show that people are best supported to rehabilitate in their own homes. This is part of Trust-wide efforts to improve outcomes for frail and older people by reducing reliance on in-patient hospital care, which can impact negatively on people’s rehabilitation.“Moving the stroke rehabilitation unit onto the same site as our acute stroke unit is a key part of plans to improve stroke services for all people in Exeter and Eastern Devon”, said RD&E Stroke Consultant Martin James. 

“The move will see a range of specialists – including nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dieticians, and speech and language therapists – working closely together to provide seamless care for people with stroke. Patients will benefit from greater continuity in care and 24 hour medical cover on site and staff will form part of a bigger specialist team, with increased opportunities to develop skills and gain input from a range of stroke specialists”, he said.

In addition to the new facility on Yealm Ward, stroke patients will continue to benefit from the ‘Early Supported Discharge (ESD)’ initiative across eastern Devon. This service supports people to return home as soon as possible after stroke, by providing specialist care and rehabilitation in patients’ own homes. Evidence shows that patients who receive ESD spend less time in hospital and can have better outcomes.


Adel Jones, the RD&E’s Integration Director, said: “These changes will help improve clinical outcomes for our patients and ensure that services are delivered where they are most effective. This means providing the best acute care possible for the critically ill in hospital and helping people who are able to be discharged rehabilitate in their own homes with the right support and interventions.”

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