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Sam Rowlands MS supports health board’s stroke improvement programme

SAM ROWLANDS, Member of the Welsh Parliament for North Wales, has welcomed an initiative to help raise awareness of strokes.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has appointed three stroke prevention nurses to provide early life saving interventions across North Wales.

Mr Rowlands, Shadow Minister for Health said: “I am pleased to see the development of a stroke prevention model as part of the health board’s stroke improvement programme.

“Appointing three specialist nurses to be out and about in the community is a great idea especially as they will be able to identify and support people who may be at risk of having a stroke.

“It is interesting to note that although stroke is a leading cause of death in the UK nine out of ten are preventable. This just goes to show how important a role these nurses will have for the people of North Wales.”

During Stroke Awareness Month the team have been out in the community to raise the profile of how people can identify if they’re at risk of having a stroke and risks associated with unhealthy lifestyle choices.

The specialists explain: “The aim of our work is to opportunistically find patients at risk of stroke at public events through blood pressure monitoring, pulse checks and lifestyle discussions such as smoking or increased alcohol intake. This will identify potential stroke risks.

“We aim to identify people with stroke risk factors such as undiagnosed Atrial Fibrillation (heart arrhythmia), undiagnosed/ uncontrolled Hypertension (raised blood pressure), undiagnosed Diabetes, Hyperlipidaemia (raised cholesterol) and provide early intervention to modify and manage these risks factors associated with unhealthy lifestyle choices such as smoking and vaping, unhealthy eating habits, increased alcohol and substance use and sedentary lifestyle.

“As part of our work also offer an educational aspect which is a very important part of the role, and how we can change behaviours. This aims to increase awareness of stroke risk factors to health board and third sector staff, patients, public, students and carers across North Wales.

“We have begun to deliver training and education to employees and also aimed at the general public with the need for outreach, such as those with hearing loss and black and ethnic minority groups.”

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The team have also begun to deliver sessions to carers of stroke survivors to provide support and information, regarding managing stroke risks following discharge, as well as working with stroke survivor groups across North Wales.