StrokeLINK

A unique programme of care that is transforming post stroke recovery

Timeline

2019 - ongoing

Team

Mater Stroke team
NCAD

Partners

Sláintecare Integration Fund
National Stroke Programme
HSE Spark Innovation

Challenge

1 in 5 Irish people will suffer a stroke at some point in their lives, and the results can be life-changing for patients and their families. Patient experience surveys show patients feel afraid and unprepared to meet the challenges of returning home following a stroke, with many not knowing who to turn to when they need support.

This often leads to poor engagement with the health advice and medications they were given in hospital, which in turn can result in patients having further strokes or other complications. Much of this is avoidable through better self-care. 

Outcome

StrokeLINK is a nurse-led service that provides patients with personalised support tools and education to help them feel more confident in managing their recovery after stroke.

Patients are taking charge of their health by making better choices, such as quitting smoking, eating healthier, and regularly monitoring their blood pressure. These changes translate into better health outcomes for patients and a more efficient use of healthcare resources.

Since StrokeLINK there has been a reduction in preventable readmissions to the hospital. Moreover, patients feel the difference with 98% of patients rating their post hospital care as excellent compared with 63% pre-StrokeLINK.

Preventing readmissions

Before StrokeLINK, 1 in every 10 stroke patients presented back to the hospital with emergencies that are now dealt with or averted in the community by StrokeLINK

Patients are making
healthier lifestyle choices

93% of StrokeLINK patients followed advice and made positive changes to lifestyle following their stroke compared with 42% before StrokeLINK.

Patients more likely to stop smoking

64% of patients stopped smoking compared with 14% before StrokeLINK.
‘To have had a stroke, and think that it might happen again, what should I do/what should I not do….all my questions were answered clearly and it was so reassuring to be part of the
StrokeLINK service.
Patricia, StrokeLINK patient

Process

A team of NCAD designers led our multidisciplinary team in a co-design process, which began with in-depth research into user needs. They interviewed patients and their families at various stages of their stroke journey.

The designers also met regularly with the StrokeLINK nurse specialists and stroke multidisciplinary team to observe, interview and discuss challenges as they arose. The team utilised service journey mapping to document their findings and develop support tools for nurses, patients and their families.

What’s happening now?

  • Service: StrokeLINK is continually evolving to improve and optimise the service for stroke patients. In 2022, for example, the team explored how the service would interact with other services such as the Irish Heart Foundation’s ‘Stroke Connect'.
  • Website: The development of StrokeLINK.ie is well underway and has been a collaborative effort with stroke patients, their families, and the stroke multidisciplinary team.
  • Text Message Tests: The team are testing the potential value of a text messaging service for patients to provide timely reminders to collect medication, check their blood pressure, and access support services.
  • StrokeLINK videos: Videos are being co-designed with patients and staff and cover topics such as 'how to monitor your blood pressure'. They are sent to patients by text at the right time to empower self-care and will be available on the StrokeLINK.ie website.

StrokeLINK specific disclaimer

StrokeLINK was developed through a collaboration between the Mater Stroke Department, Mater Transformation and the National College of Art and Design.
The project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 352. Additional funding support was also provided by the Public Service Innovation Fund (2020) and Spark Innovation.

Awards

1. IDI Award -2021 - Digital; Service Design - Shortlisted
2. IDI Awards - 2021 - Special Awards - Collaborative - Shortlisted.
3. SJC (St. John of the Cross) Awards - 2021 - 3rd place
4. Health Service Excellence Award - 2021 - Nominated in Excellence of Quality Care Category