Stroke Association highlights pandemic hit on research
By Gemma Raw
Throughout the pandemic, the main focus has inevitably been on hospital services and the exceptional challenges facing those working in frontline healthcare jobs, such as doctors and nurses. However, one of the hidden healthcare issues has been a huge drop in charitable donations which support vital medical research.
A significant reduction in donated income means that the stroke research budget has been cut in half. What's more, one in five researchers say they'll need more funding because of the problems they've faced in carrying out their work against the backdrop of pandemic lockdowns and restrictions.That's why the Stroke Association have used Stroke Awareness Month 2021 to launch their 'Save Research. Rebuild Lives' fundraising campaign. Since the beginning of May, they've been raising awareness of the damaging effects COVID-19 has had on stroke research, putting the development of innovative treatments and care protocols at risk.
Supporting patients and healthcare professionals
Research can make a real difference to the lives of people affected by stroke. It's not just about finding new ways to identify those at risk and take preventative measures. It's also about supporting those working in rehabilitative healthcare roles, such as physiotherapists, speech and language therapists and occupational therapists, so that they can help stroke survivors relearn key skills and improve their quality of life.
A major healthcare issue
Stroke strikes every five minutes in the UK. That means it affects around 100,000 people every year and there are currently 1.2 million stroke survivors. However, as many families and those who work in allied health jobs will be well aware, with the right treatment and support, people can recover and rebuild their lives.
The Stroke Association is the only UK charity that focuses exclusively on stroke research. The vital funding which the Association provides enables medical researchers to find new ways to help at-risk groups prevent stroke with simple lifestyle modifications, and to drive improvements in treatment and care.
Supporting speech and language therapy
Around a third of stroke survivors have ongoing communication problems. Stroke Association research has helped changed guidelines to ensure they have access to support from speech and language therapists, as well as improving care strategies for those working in SLT roles.
Helping patients reclaim movement
Stroke Association funding has created a community of specialist medical researchers who are working to develop our understanding of the relationship between the brain and body movement. For example, research has shown a stroke survivor supported by an occupational therapist who helps them set personal goals is more likely to have the confidence to leave the controlled environment of their home whenever they want to.
Since the early 1990s, the Stroke Association has invested more than £56 million in stroke research. In these unprecedented times, the donations and fundraising that empower much of this research have never been more important.
It's not too late to help. You can make a donation to Stroke Association here.