The COVID-19 pandemic presents major challenges to healthcare systems. Stroke services, like many others, have had to adapt rapidly to continue to deliver high-quality patient care.

A collaboration between the Oxford Academic Health Science Network (Oxford AHSN) and the stroke leads for the Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme has produced practical support for stroke teams across England including:

– a guide on restoration and recovery following a period of rapid change along the whole patient pathway

– an implementation guide for adapting acute services during the pandemic

Restoration and recovery

Restoration and recovery of stroke services during the COVID-19 pandemic assesses the impact of rapid changes made across the whole stroke pathway – including community services – at the peak of the pandemic, outlining new ways of working which have been beneficial for both patients and staff and should be continued and extended. It also aims to highlight those changes which now need a closer look and prevent a return to less effective ways of working.

Adapting stroke services

The COVID-19 pandemic present major challenges to healthcare systems around the world. The response has had a profound effect on other clinical services. Reduced admissions, falling TIA referrals, COVID-19 outbreaks and staff sickness have all put stroke services under strain. Rapid changes in services have been needed to sustain high-quality stroke care.

The immediate need was to minimise face-to-face interactions between patients and healthcare professionals where alternative models of care can be implemented. Adapting stroke services during the COVID-19 pandemic: an implementation guide supports this process.