Updates and perspectives on stroke care and the COVID19 pandemic.
Updates and perspectives on stroke care and the COVID19 pandemic.
Around the globe we find ourselves adapting to a new reality. This is a big personal and professional challenge. Firstly, we have to bring our spouses and families into a safe situation and take care of our children in every imaginable way. Secondly, we have to make gross and unforeseen changes to our professional life. There, we have to consider our patients first.
From many sides I hear that to be a stroke patient has become more and more difficult. Resources are being cut, departments and stroke units moved to smaller and less capable locations, the armarium of therapeutic possibilities is being cut by new priorities and our intensive care beds are being kept open for COVID19 patients. Our hours of duties on the wards are in danger of being redirected to the COVID19 management. Department heads and stroke unit managers have to spend many hours in administrative meetings in order to adapt to the new directives and lead their teams to new hospital entry pathways and management guidelines. At best we are losing time when our patients enter the hospitals, where we have unforeseen delays in initiating emergency treatments, at the worst we are missing the therapeutic window altogether due to delays in hospital admission or referrals, or patients preferring not to enter the hospital at all.
All these adaptations are necessary and we fully support all priority measures to treat COVID19 patients as needed. But we also have to look at the fate of the many patients with other diseases. I even receive messages that the number of stroke admissions are decreasing in some regions. Many of you have created some Whattsapp or Wechat groups among your professional contacts and I am asking you to make these experiences available here on our website and on our social media channels.
it would be a timely help for our international organization to see how we make adaptations in our countries, regions or even hospitals. I think that examples from hospitals or regions are most valuable. I urge you to send us some of your experiences in order to show the world how you are coping with the new requirements imposed upon our profession as stroke physicians, neurologists, nurses, medical personel or therapists.We can then see how things are going from Timbuktu to Los Angeles, from Lagos to Oslo, or from Madrid to Tehran. It would be helpful to recieve reports from countries most severely affected by the COVID19 pandemic.
Michael Brainin, MD President, WSO
March 20, 2020
WSO has gathered input from our members regarding the impact of COVID 19 on acute stroke care globally. The results have been collated here along with a call to action to goverments and heatlhcare agencies to remind the public that stroke symptoms should not be ignored, even if they are mild or transient.
Reports from our members show the profound effect that COVID19 is having on professionals and healthcare systems as they respond to the needs of stroke patients during the COVID19 pandemic. A number of Stroke Codes are being produced around the world to guide clinicians in the delivery of safe stroke treatment.
The WSO member network is constantly connecting and creating opportunities to share learning that will help our stroke care colleagues around the world respond to the challenges posed by the COVID19 pandemic. Details of WSO endorsed webinars and online knowledge exchange opportunities will be shared here. Please contact us with details of any upcoming knowledge sharing events that may be useful to share here.
WSO webinarsFind out more
Series of four lectures and Q & As aim to share learning from the Spanish experience of stroke management during the COVID19 pandemic.Find out more
Guidance and action on COVID19 is constantly evolving, the media and social media channels are full of information. We recommend that you use and share trusted, evidence-based sources information sources to keep you, your family and community safe. Please refer to WHO information and guidance and official guidance from your national public health systems.
WHO COVID19 Public Information Resources – have been designed to help you raise awareness of key public health messages on symptoms, public safety and treatment.
Many stroke survivors and caregivers will be unable to access healthcare appointments, rehabilitation or social support groups. Some may be advised against allowing any visitors other than people providing essential care into their homes. Follow your local guidelines, contact your local health and social care services for information and contact your local stroke support organization for advice.
Many of our SSO members have resources that may be of particular help at this time:
Stroke Association in the UK have an online tool, My Stroke Guide, which provides access to trusted advice, information and support and connects you to stroke survivors and caregivers online.
Stroke Foundation Australia's enableme website is dedicated to stroke recovery and support with tips, tricks and tools that have been shared by other stroke survivors.
Stroke Foundation Australia also has InformMe which is an online resource for health professionals to improve the treatment of stroke care.
Heart and Stroke Canada have a series of webinars available here and there will be more available soon for patients, caregivers and health professionals about COVID-19
Rede Brasil AVC President, Sheila Martins shares an important message about continuing to Act FAST
MyTherAppy provides curated access to mobile apps that support stroke self managed rehabilitiation. Apps have been reviewed and tested by clinicians and patients in the UK.
In light of the serious challenges posed by COVID-19. WSO is now providng open access to ALL CME content on the World Stroke Academy.
The WSO Education Committee has developed a series of free webinars, open to all, irrespective of WSO membership. To watch past webinars and to register for upcoming sessions plesae see our website page and follow @WorldStrokeEd on twitter for latest WSO education news.
25th March 2020
In the last couple of weeks, the COVID-19 pandemy is changing all our daily lives. What we are hearing from countries where thousands of people are already infected and far too much are dying is heart breaking. Of course, we are absolutely aware that you and your colleagues in the hospitals have the biggest challenges, workload and risk by far. So many doctors and nurses are already infected.
However we also see a lot of wonderful examples how doctors, nurses, but also ordinary people, neighbors are helping, caring and supporting in a very creative manner, which give us hope that we will overcome this horrible crisis and that we learn the lessons.
Please don’t forget, we as Angels will continue to support you whatever it takes. We and our Angels Consultants will continue to communicate with you by appropriate channels to help you in the current situation, to deal with the challenges, to find ways to treat stroke patient in a new environment and if possible to continue with the work that has started before. Please do not hesitate also to contact us, if you think this can help you and your patients.
We are well aware that there are huge differences in the different countries, regions and hospitals due to the level of outbreak and the health care infrastructure. Some hospitals in heavily affected region are transformed to “virus-clinics”, stroke units are closed or transferred to normal stations. A lot of you and colleagues are overloaded with work and others - as we - must work remotely from our home.
Please try not to stop sharing your experience, the situation that we are facing is totally unprecedented, so we can learn a lot from each other. To facilitate this, we created an Angels Initiative closed Facebook group. In other words, only people registered on the Angels website will be accepted in this community. We want to make this platform available for you to support each other, encourage each other and connect information that could save lives.
Please join us here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/AngelsInitiative
26th March 2020
The pharmaceutical industry and their logistics partners play an important role during the ongoing COVID-crisis as the lives of patients worldwide depend also on open borders, on established logistics processes, on airplanes being able to land when transporting essential medications. While politicians worldwide have promised their citizens that the exchange of goods can continue, our industry and related stakeholders in the medical community are faced with the reality that these routine processes have been seriously disturbed by the Corona-pandemic.
Out-of-stock situations of life-saving drugs or medical devices may happen due to circumstances out of our control and I would like to send this message on behalf of many frustrated colleagues in my industry who wish to help more than ever but are faced with these unfortunate realities. Please contact the companies directly when these situations happen, we work for you and your patients and feel very responsible to support you in difficult times.
I would also like to send a message to all our friends and partners in the medical community who are nowadays not only treating stroke patients but additionally support their colleagues in the ER, increasing their own risks to become infected by becoming first line responders during this pandemic and I would like to say thank you to every medical worker who takes on this enormous task right now.
EVER pharma is not a huge global player but we have been trying our best to support stroke education projects since 2006, the year the WSO was established. These projects will also come to a complete stop right now but we promise to be back at your side when all our lives normalize again.
Achieving our vision of a life free from stroke is a task that WSO cannot achieve alone. We are committed to building our partnerships at the global, regional and national level to scale up and deliver improvements in prevention, treatment and support to reduce the burden of stroke.