Over half of stroke patients admitted directly to specialist units
Over half of all patients with suspected stroke were admitted directly to a specialist acute stroke unit and assessed for thrombolysis, in line with NICE's stroke quality standard, latest figures reveal.
The quarterly figures, published earlier this week by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), look in detail at how hospitals in England performed on a series of 12 indicators covering the first 72 hours of stroke care.
Two of these indicators are based on statements included in NICE's stroke quality standard - a set of specific, concise statements and associated measures that outlines what high-quality, cost-effective patient care should look like.
A further four of the indicators included in the audit relate to the NICE stroke guideline, published in July 2008.
Overall, a total of 6,089 stroke patients, who arrived at hospital between April 2011 and June 2011, took part in the audit.
The findings reveal that 55 per cent of patients went directly to a stroke unit and got there within 4 hours of arrival at hospital, as recommended in statement three of NICE's quality standard for stroke.
Just over half of all patients, 53 per cent, were assessed and managed by stroke nursing staff and at least one member of the specialist rehabilitation team within 24 hours of admission to hospital, and by all relevant members of the specialist rehabilitation team within 72 hours. This is in line with statement five of the NICE quality standard.
Elsewhere, the audit found that hospitals were closely following NICE recommendations with 85 per cent of patients given nutrition screening and a formal swallow assessment within 72 hours of admission to hospital.
A total of 63 per cent of patients were given an anti-platelet within 72 hours, where appropriate, and had adequate fluid and nutrition in all 24 hour periods.
NICE recommends that all patients presenting with acute stroke be given aspirin, 150-300 mg orally, if they are not dysphagic or aspirin rectally or by enteral tube if they are dysphagic.
Thereafter, aspirin should be continued until two weeks after the onset of stroke, at which time definitive long-term anti-thrombotic treatment should be initiated.
The audit, commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP), is carried out on behalf of the Intercollegiate Stroke Working Party by the RCP's Clinical Standards Department.
It is a continuous audit, taking place all year round until 31 March 2012, with hospitals submitting data on patients as they are admitted and treated.
Hospitals wishing to enter the audit can do so by completing the Stroke Improvement National Audit Programme (SINAP)enrolment form.
19 August 2011