Stroke Services

Stroke Care

Immediate assessment

The quicker someone who has had a stroke is diagnosed and treated the better chance they have of recovering. If you or a relative think they are having a stroke, you should ring 999 for an ambulance.

The Emergency Care Centre at Kent & Canterbury Hospital provides rapid access to the specialist stroke assessments required.

When symptoms are detected and it is thought the person is having a stroke, the stroke team will provide an urgent assessment, which is vital to ensure the correct emergency treatment can be given.

Initial tests will attempt to determine:

  • What type of stroke a person has had
  • Which part of the brain has been affected
  • The condition of the heart and lungs
  • Problems with swallowing.

People who have suffered a stroke will need a physical examination, a brain scan, blood tests, blood pressure checks and ECG to see what caused the stroke, the damage that has been done and what medical treatment can be provided.

Some people who present to hospital quickly may benefit from 'clot busting' thrombolysis treatment.

Hyperacute stroke unit

The stroke unit at Kent & Canterbury Hospital (Harbledown Ward) is an acute ward for patients in their first 72-hours post stroke and is complimented by Kingston Ward for patients requiring ongoing treatment, tests and stroke specific rehabilitation. Each ward provides stroke care; involving intensive nursing, medical and therapy input in the initial stages following stroke onset. Patients have access to immediate CT scanning, are on cardiac monitors and have frequent blood pressure monitoring and other medical investigations.

We treat the stroke and its following medical effects; aiming reducing further damage and find out why the stroke occurred. The stroke team will assess your needs and plan treatment to lower the risk of another stroke, and help start the stroke recovery and rehabilitation.

Early rehabilitation

Early rehabilitation assessments will take place as soon as the patient is admitted to an acute stroke unit, in order for the team to understand the individual needs of each patient following their stroke. Rehabilitation therapy starts as soon as the medical team feel the patient is stable enough to tolerate therapy.

Hospital stroke rehabilitation aims to improve the patient’s functional ability, in order to make them safe for discharge from hospital. For those appropriate patients, further stroke rehabilitation can then take place outside of the hospital, at either the patient’s home or specialist rehabilitation settings, with the community stroke rehabilitation team.

How long patients stay on the stroke unit will vary from patient to patient, ranging from 24 hours to a number of weeks, depending upon individual need. We will discuss with you and family what will happen when you leave the unit.