The Bristol Health Partners Stroke Health Integration Team (HIT) held a special launch event on 16 November, bringing together more than 80 people, including those who have experienced stroke, their friends and family, professionals who support them, researchers, companies, volunteers and community representatives. The Stroke HIT aims to prevent strokes and improve the lives of people affected by stroke through working together beyond the limits of individual organisations.
The event, which took place at Circomedia‘s St Paul’s hub, had a marketplace of local services and innovations to help people recover from stroke. These included the ‘right trousers’ designed to help older people, including those who have had a stroke, to stay mobile, as well as other new stroke rehabilitation technologies.
There were presentations from the HIT’s Director Dr Phil Clatworthy and Richard Lyle, Associate Director of Service Redesign at Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (BNSSG CCG).
At the event, Richard said:
“This integrated approach is about recognising that by working together and bringing together university research and practising clinicians, you can learn, develop and inform in a way that that is harder to do individually, or less complete when done in isolation.
“Here we’ve got private sector companies, tech companies, charities, the health service, all focussed around one subject, but all bringing a different thing to the table. It’s good. People are a bit more open-minded about that permeable boundary.”
Richard’s team has been working on a revised strategy for stroke prevention, treatment and care in the area for several years, alongside the developing HIT team, ensuring that patient needs are at the heart of the redesign. Changes to the current system are planned to start in 2020. Ideas include centralising services to make the best stroke treatments available around the clock, and addressing imbalances in care across the region, to ensure that as many people as possible can be supported back into their home, or otherwise into a rehabilitation setting with the right professional advice and therapy.
The launch was also an opportunity to watch two short films made by Chris Rawlence of charity Rosetta Life. The first featured local people who have experienced stroke, including boxer Dan Sarkozi who lives in Fishponds. He was just 28 and in peak physical fitness when he had a stroke at his boxing gym, caused by a previously undiagnosed hole in his heart. Dan has set up a petition to get the surgery to close a PFO – a particular type of hole in the heart – available on the NHS.
The second film focussed on Rosetta Life’s work, particularly the Stroke Odysseys project. This project brings a fresh approach to stroke rehabilitation through workshops that help people with stroke rediscover their identities through the performing arts.
As part of the HIT launch, a group of “Stroke Ambassadors”, people with stroke who came together through the Stroke Odysseys workshops, brought the final performance of their national tour to Circomedia. This was a moving and personal depiction of the journey to a new life after stroke, providing a fitting and positive end to the launch.
Phil Clatworthy said:
“Our launch event showed that people want to come together to find solutions to the problems faced by people who experience stroke. It was wonderful to see such a broad mix of people coming through the doors on the day, from people with experience of stroke, their friends and families, to those who support them in the NHS, the voluntary sector and through research. This is just the beginning for our new team!”