Dr Head receiving the MediWales award from Professor Jonathan Bisson, director of research and development and Dean of the medicine department at Cardiff University.
INNOVATIVE passports which help stroke patients track their treatment and recovery have been awarded a prestigious award. THE speech and language department at Cwm Taf University Health Board is celebrating success after winning the MediWales NHS Awards 2013.
The Life after Stroke team won the Judges’ Award for the NHS for the stroke patient passport which was presented to Dr Kathryn Head, the health board’s clinical lead and speech and language therapist for stroke at a ceremony on December 10 at Cardiff’s National Museum.
The award recognizes the innovative work undertaken to produce a unique set of passports to help guide patients and their families through stroke care and rehabilitation.
The interactive documents are designed to prevent patients feeling lost or abandoned by NHS and voluntary services, especially after they are discharged from hospital.
The passports, which were developed by speech and language therapists with the help of stroke patients and their families, cover the early (hospital) treatment of a stroke, rehabilitation and life after a stroke.
Maintained and owned by the patient, the three passports help the individual retain control of their care during their recovery from a stroke.
They are now being piloted on a small number of patients from across the health board, following successful focus group work.
On receiving the award Dr Head said: “I am very proud of the Life after Stroke team’s achievement in developing the stroke patient passport.
“It is unique in being a tool that follows the patient throughout the stroke pathway and it has been developed to be accessible to individuals with communication difficulties.
“The award recognises the dedication and collaborative work of the speech and language therapists, the multiagency team and stroke survivors.
“The passport puts patients back in control of their recovery and so far, has been very much welcomed as a tool that facilitates communication and engagement in the stroke recovery process.”
Feedback from stroke patients across Wales indicated that when they left hospital they felt as though they fell through a black hole; that they felt abandoned; there was no support for carers and that services weren’t joined up.
Dr Head said: “As part of the Welsh Government’s Life after Stroke initiative, the health board saw we thought this was an opportunity to develop a resource for patients that covers the whole of their stroke journey, not just life after a stroke.”
Kathy McLernon, a specialist speech and language therapist for acute stroke at Cwm Taf University Health Board, who designed the passports, said: “We had really good feedback from the focus group – one person said they wished they’d had this when they’d had their stroke. They said they’d have found things easier and would have known what to ask for.
“We’ve found that often things are just done to stroke patient because they weren’t aware what to ask for but these passports will help.”
The passports have been successfully piloted in Cwm Taf University Health Board and Dr Head hopes, with further collaboration and funding, they can be rolled out across Wales.