13 November 2018

New specialist stroke rehabilitation centre opens in Sheffield

A new stroke rehabilitation centre, which is set to improve stroke services for hundreds of stroke survivors in Sheffield, has opened at Norfolk Park.

The new Stroke Pathway Assessment and Rehabilitation Centre (SPARC), run by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, offers dedicated 24/7 specialist rehabilitation and support to patients who have suffered a stroke at a critical point in their recovery.

Staffed by a team of stroke rehabilitation nurses, physiotherapists, pharmacists, dietitians, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, psychologists, orthoptists, and doctors, the new centre is expected to reduce long-term dependence on acute hospital care and ensure patients receive the right rehabilitative support in the right setting at the right time of their recovery.

Boasting a therapy gym with specialist rehabilitation equipment and a specially designed kitchen with moveable surfaces, patients can improve balance, coordination and strength, and learn how to adapt to their changing needs, like having to cook one-handed, in a supportive environment.

In addition there are spacious grounds outside for social interaction and a communal area for dining. Both can be key in easing depression and anxiety – feelings that are often experienced after having a stroke.

The majority of patients using the facility will have access to their own en suite room.

There are also two double bedded bays to ensure staff can carry out close observations on patients with high levels of needs, such as those at risk of falls.

Around 1,000 people suffer with a stroke in Sheffield a year.

Dr Amanda Jones, clinical lead for the stroke pathway and stroke nurse consultant at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted to be opening this new, stroke rehabilitation centre, which is the culmination of a three-year programme to transform stroke services across the city.

“It can take months and possibly years for stroke survivors to recover both physically and emotionally from a stroke, so this is a fantastic development which will enable stroke patients to receive the right treatment and support at the right time in the right place.

"Many patients transferring to the new centre have already commented that due to the environment they feel more positive and motivated to embark on their rehabilitation programme, and that they are really progressing with their recovery. This is really positive and great news for stroke survivors in the area.”

Around 1% of the NHS’ budget is spent on strokes a year, which is the leading cause of adult disability in the UK, and affects young as well as elderly people, with around 30% of all strokes occurring in those under 65 and 20% to 15% in those under 55.

So far the new centre has freed up around ten beds at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital’s acute stroke unit. These can now be used to further develop services for those in the early stages of their stroke, to ensure they receive the necessary specialist emergency treatments and care.

A stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery or a blood vessel ruptures or bleeds, which causes irreversible damage to the brain. The faster you recognise a stroke and react to it, the more of the brain and the person you can save. For more details of how to recognise the signs and symptoms of a stroke and what action to take visit https://www.nhs.uk/actfast/Pages/stroke.aspx.


Chris’ story

Chris Grant, 80, from Sheffield suffered a stroke on the 1st August this year.

Fortunately, his wife, Monica, acted F.A.S.T. when she noticed his disorientation and that his speech was slurring. She dialled 999.

Chris was admitted to hospital within half an hour, where he remained for six days. He had lost the use of his right hand and arm, was unable to stand or walk unaided and could not swallow liquids without risk of choking.

He responded to the treatment in hospital and was recommended for admission to new Stroke Pathway Assessment and Rehabilitation Centre where he would receive more intense treatments on a daily basis.

“By the end of my first week at the Stroke Pathway Assessment and Rehabilitation Centre, as a result of the physio, speech, occupational and rehabilitation therapies as well as medical care, I was able to walk a short distance unaided. The use of my right arm and hand improved daily, I was able to drink all liquids safely and my speech had fully recovered. The therapists were impressed with my progress.

“By the end of week two, taking advantage of the specialist gym and kitchen, my mobility and dexterity improved further, including climbing steps and stairs. I was also able to make a sandwich and a hot drink.

“My recovery continued into the third week. I was able to take care of my own medication, as well as make scones for the first time in my life. I was ready to be allowed home with the minimum of support.

“I had my up and down moments, but all the staff, medical and non-medical, were really friendly, encouraging and supportive. This contributed greatly to my recovery as also did the fact that family and friends were able to take me out, in a wheelchair, into the very pleasant and relaxing grounds at the Stroke Pathway Assessment and Rehabilitation Centre.

“I would definitely recommend this centre as it provides all the intensity of care that I needed and got. Every healthcare Trust should have a facility like this to give stroke sufferers the care they need in the early stages of their recovery.”


  • Stroke is a condition where the blood supply to the brain is disrupted, resulting in oxygen starvation, brain damage and loss of function
  • More than 150,000 people in the UK have a stroke each year, and a quarter are aged under 65
  • Around 2,500 people in South Yorkshire/Sheffield have a stroke every year
  • Stroke is the single largest cause of adult disability in the UK
  • Stroke claims a life every 6 seconds. It is the second leading cause of death for people above the age of 60, and the fifth leading cause in people aged 15 to 59
  • There are three early stroke warning signs highlighted in the Department of Health’s ‘FAST’ test. These include the face drooping on one side, an inability to smile, drooping eyes or mouth, an inability to lift one arm or both arms and keep them there, slurred speech. Anyone noticing these signs should call 999 immediately. For further information go to http://www.nhs.uk/actfast/Pages/stroke.aspx.




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