Ipsen and World Stroke Organisation partnership focuses on improving post-stroke care

Research highlights financial challenges and knowledge gaps faced by stroke survivors

Results of a new Ipsen survey highlight the stark reality faced by stroke survivors, revealing the personal and financial burdens that stroke can have on individuals and their families. The survey raises critical concerns, suggesting that many stroke survivors are not proactively made aware by their neurologist of the long-term complications that can occur following a stroke.

The survey of over 500 stroke survivors found that 9 in 10 (90%) people who were employed at the time of their stroke, said it has had an impact on their working life. One in four (25%) stroke survivors stated they have had to leave their jobs and 1 in 3 (34%) said they had to reduce their work hours.  Data shows that younger stroke survivors are particularly hard hit in terms of the impact on their careers and livelihoods, as for those who said that they had to reduce their working hours, close to half (45%) were aged 30 to 44. Similarly, of those who said they had to leave work altogether, more than a third (34%) were 30 to 44 and of the stroke survivors who said they had to find alternative employment, almost six out of ten (59%) were aged 30-44.

In addition, findings highlight that stroke also heavily impacts family members’ ability to work. Almost three quarters (74%) of all individuals who have experienced a stroke in the past three years report that a family member has had to either give up or reduce their working hours to provide care and assistance. In the UK specifically, one in five (21%) said a family member had to give up their job long-term (over a year) to care for them, while one in four (25%) said they had to reduce their work hours.

Announcing a global partnership between Ipsen and the World Stroke Organisation, focused on improving post-stroke care, Michelle Nelson, VP of Stroke Support Organizations of the World Stroke Organization said “Increasing global stroke rates among those under age 55, coupled with a projected 35% rise in stroke survivors in Europe by 2040, will significantly impact the global economy. Without action, stroke-related costs, including direct expenses and income losses, are estimated to rise to $2.31 trillion worldwide by 2050. It is therefore vital that we ensure that stroke survivors and their families have access to good quality post-stroke services to prevent recurrent strokes and optimize health and wellbeing post stroke.”

As clinicians we sometimes face significant obstacles to efficient care delivery due to a lack of patient awareness of critical symptoms of post-stroke complications and clear lines of communication between physicians, stroke survivors and caregivers. Timely and comprehensive care is vital for optimising long-term health outcomes post-stroke, particularly when it comes to spasticity. Ensuring stroke survivors are made aware and have access to accurate information and support post-discharge is critical to the success of rehabilitation.

Dr Ganesh Bavikatte, Consultant and Clinical Lead, UK

When respondents were asked what they hoped their post-stroke treatment and rehabilitation programme would deliver, almost half of all individuals questioned said the prevention of another stroke (49%). A similar proportion (46%) said they wanted to improve their mobility and movement, highlighting the high value that patients place on being able to move freely.

Despite being a top priority for patients, the survey uncovered a concerning gap in care: at least one in three stroke survivors reported that they were not proactively informed by their neurologists about potential post-stroke complications, including mobility issues such as muscle stiffness (spasticity) (38%) and muscle weakness (paresis) (38%). In addition, in Europe 1 in 3 (33%) stroke survivors who do not primarily see a stroke specialist regarding their post-stroke care, say their general practitioner does not refer them to see a stroke specialist when they experience new stroke related complications.

The findings highlight the need for a comprehensive approach to long-term stroke management that limit the economic impact and alleviates the multifaceted burdens faced by survivors and their families.

“Delayed and uncoordinated post-stroke care is costly for patients, society and healthcare systems. We know that many patients are not referred for rehabilitation and post-stroke care in a timely manner,” explains Dr Sandra Silvestri, Chief Medical Officer at Ipsen. “Ipsen is committed to improving stroke outcomes for patients. As part of this commitment, we are currently conducting a major scientific study in over 1000 patients in 7 countries to fully assess the incidence, timing, severity and patterns of post-stroke spasticity so that better treatment pathways can be identified globally for patients.”