Stroke Services

Inpatient stroke services

The Northern Trust provides a specialist stroke service, with dedicated wards in Antrim Area Hospital and Causeway Hospital.

Currently the service includes:
• Acute Inpatient Stroke Units - 12 dedicated acute stroke beds in Antrim Area Hospital and 12 dedicated stroke beds in Causeway Hospital.

• Stroke Rehabilitation Units in Whiteabbey and Mid Ulster Hospitals.

Specialist staff
Each ward has a dedicated multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, specialist nurses, social workers, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and dieticians. Training programs are available for staff to make sure that they are up to date with new developments in stroke care.

Thrombolysis service
Thrombolysis, the breakdown of blood clots, is available for carefully selected patients who come to the Emergency Department up to 4.5 hours from the onset of their stroke. The Trust has links with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service who transport patients directly to the nearest Thrombolysing Centre. The service is available 24/7 in Antrim Area Hospital and Causeway Hospital.

A small proportion of patients may be suitable for thrombectomy (clot retrieval) and will be transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital for assessment for thrombectomy. This service presently works between hours of 9am -5pm Monday-Friday. Negotiation is ongoing to extend this service to 24/7.

Stroke review clinic
All patients discharged from hospital after a stroke are given an appointment to attend the stroke review clinic in 6-8 weeks to check their progress.

Research and development
The Trust has two stroke research nurses who work to develop and improve the level of care provided to patients. The service also participates in UK and worldwide stroke trials. The Northern Trust hospitals, Antrim and Causeway, are also enrolled in the Stroke Sentinel National Audit Programme (SSNAP).

Other support
Many stroke patients will require ongoing support from a GP, treatment room, outpatient clinics, community nursing, speech and language therapy, podiatry, social work, dietetics, occupational therapy and physiotherapy services.

Rapid Access TIA
The Northern Trust offers an investigation and service for patients who may have had a TIA (mini stroke). Patients are given a full investigation including blood tests, brain imaging, carotid artery imaging and cardiac investigation where necessary. Admission may be arranged if necessary or an appointment scheduled at an Out Patient Clinic. Patients can be referred to this service by GPs, Emergency Department and other medical wards.

Stroke Carer support group
A Stroke Carer support group meets at Causeway Hospital every 12-14 weeks. The group gives carers the opportunity to socialize together, get information and offer each other support. For further information please contact Patricia Holley, Stroke Nurse Specialist on 028 7032 7032 extension 375697.

Other agencies

The Trust works closely with the Chest, Heart and Stroke Association and the Stroke Association. Patients and their families can avail of the services provided by these agencies when an appropriate referral is made by a member of the stroke team.

For more information on stroke services in the Northern Trust please contact:

Rachel Stevenson      
Stroke Nurse Specialist
Antrim Area Hospital
Tel: 028 9442 4000 ext 2472 

Paula Ford-Hutchinson
Stroke Nurse Specialist
Intermediate Rehabilitation and Stroke Service
Oriel House
Castle Street
Antrim
Tel: 028 9442 6100

Patricia Holley
Stroke Nurse Specialist
Causeway Hospital, Coleraine
Tel: 028 7032 7032

Related links
FAST leaflet

Page last updated:26 January 2018