YORK'S stroke victims are to be the first to benefit from a new service will allow them to be discharged from hospital sooner.

A new specialist team is being launched which will enable patients to continue their fight back to health in their own homes.

The Community Stroke Discharge Team will provide expert rehabilitation for those in the early stages of recovery.

The service will also support sufferers who have been discharged from York Hospital, speeding up their adjustment from hospital to home.

Ina James, Therapy Team Leader for Stroke for York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, explained: “Around 450 people a year are admitted to York Hospital having suffered a stroke.

“Of these patients, a large proportion requires rehabilitation. Early and intensive rehabilitation during the first three months after a stroke is critical in minimising the patient’s disability and improving their recovery.”

The new multi-disciplinary team is made up of an Administrator, Consultant, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, a Speech and Language Therapist, a Dietician and Stroke Rehabilitation Assistants.

As well as a reduction in the length of hospital stay, benefits for patients include more patient-centred care delivered within a home environment, improvements in long term recovery and independence in daily activities.

Ina James continued: “Evidence suggests that patients recover more rapidly at home. This service will support patients to lead independent lives.

“We are delighted to have our new team in place and the service up and running. Our aim is that it will improve the long term recovery and quality of life for many stroke patients.”

Statistics show that up to 43 per cent of patients with a stroke could benefit from the scheme.

Previously, stroke victims had to remain in hospital until they no longer required daily help from the rehabilitation team.

On discharge, they came under the wing of the Community Stroke Team.

The new Community Discharge Stroke Team is teaming up with other agencies such as social services to provide a smoother transition.

Patients who are accepted by the team will be contacted within 24 hours of discharge with the first assessment taking place within 48 hours.

The service is being offered to patients in York first with a view to rolling it out across trust-wide in the future.