|Role||Stroke Unit Matron|
The Wessex- Ghana Stroke Partnership has been active for nearly five years. The project focuses on the delivery of safe and effective stroke care in the Stroke Unit at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and has to date trained 212 doctors, nurses, clinical psychologists and occupational therapists.
As the number of stroke patients increases yearly along with the relatively high rate of morbidity, mortality and an overall reduction in the country’s total workforce as a result, extending Stroke care to all departments of Korle- Bu Teaching Hospital and, ultimately, hospitals all over the country has become a project target.
I work as a nurse at the Stroke Unit of Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital. I was assigned the duties of the THET Education Lead/Clinical Coordinator, a challenging role to be fulfilled within a short frame of time, in January 2016. The support of both the Ghana and UK teams and my mentor Claire Fullbrook have made this experience a largely successful one.
Between January 2016 and now, a total of 165 health workers from within the hospital and its adjoining polyclinic have been trained on core skills for caring for Stroke patients. The training has given these healthcare workers confidence in caring for Stroke patients and also passing on the acquired skills to other colleagues when they have had to move on to other units after working at the Stroke Unit.
This has been in an effort to improve management of Stroke patients in other units of the hospital who may not, for one reason or the other, be at the Stroke Unit. The staff, their heads of units and ultimately, the patients, have been immensely pleased with this opportunity to learn these skills that have improved patient care in the other departments.
Four new core skills that were added to the old ones have helped us see a marked improvement in rehabilitation of Stroke patients. The Acute Stoke Checklist has been updated, now containing all eight core skills.
As part of helping patients relearn everyday activities to enable them to lead full and independent lives, board games like Drafts and Ludo have been introduced on the ward. Patients enjoy being able to participate in such activities.
Families and caregivers are also given a list of all medications to be taken by patients, what they are for, how they are to be given and any other special instructions. As these are written down clearly, it helps improve patient compliance and sorts any confusion with how medications are to be taken.
The UK Team visited us twice in 2016. The ward round sessions, meetings with all team members and leadership training have always been big and educative periods on all the visits.
Dr. Nkromah, the Head of Stroke Unit, also attended the 11th UK Stroke Forum 2016 in Liverpool in November. Training workshops were organized to cover Nursing and Rehabilitation and Social Care and also on getting involved in Stroke Research.
The multidisciplinary team work introduced is working amazingly well. All team members are able to effectively contribute to bedside discussions during general ward rounds, unlike in other units where doctors alone lead rounds and discuss patients among themselves.
As a result of the multidisciplinary team work done, the Stroke Unit is held in very high regard by the main Korle- Bu Teaching Hospital administration and all other units and departments of the hospital.
Patients and their family members have been greatly satisfied with the care given to patients throughout their rehabilitation process, right from the day of admission and through all their follow- up visits. As a patients son, told me: “We came here from a private hospital, and have been impressed by the standard of care my mother is getting”, this has really motivated us to keep striving to make the quality of life for our patients better at all times.
Advocating for the setting up of transition care units will go a long way to help in the patients’ total rehabilitation. Patients’ caregivers and families would acquire enough training to adequately care for the patients after discharge from the hospital.
In the face of all our challenges, our successes have been encouraging. All the core skills acquired by team members will be passed on to all members of the multidisciplinary team, other staff in other departments of the hospital and the country at large.
 Claire Fullbrook, Scanlon, Matron/Senior Lecturer in Stroke, Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust, UK