Less than €7m Spent on Rehab
Stroke costs economy €1 billion a year, but less than €7 million spent on rehab
15 April 2011
The Irish Heart Foundation today urged Minister for Health James Reilly to support efforts to improve services for stroke survivors after research showed that less than €7 million a year is being spent on community rehabilitation out of an overall cost of stroke to the taxpayer totalling up to €1 billion per annum.
The heart health and stroke charity’s Cost of Stroke in Ireland (COSI) study showed that over €400 million is being spent each year on nursing home care for stroke survivors. But Dr Frances Horgan, Chair of the Irish Heart Foundation Council on Stroke, said many more people could return home at a possible cost saving to the State.
She said: “It is estimated there could be as many as 59,000 stroke survivors in Ireland at present, which would mean that an average of just €120 is being spent in a whole year on rehabilitation services for them in the community.
“This would barely pay for two physiotherapy sessions in a year which is unacceptable when you consider the often highly complex physical, speech and psychological supports that people need when they rebuild their lives after a stroke.
“The worst aspect of this deficit is that in addition to massive reduction in death and disability, better rehabilitation services might actually save the taxpayer as well by reducing the need for nursing home places and the numbers returning to hospital due to the medical effects of their stroke.”
Dr Horgan was speaking at the Irish Heart Foundation Council on Stroke Study Day in Croke Park which was attended by over 180 stroke physicians and allied health care professionals delivering stroke services countrywide.
The Government and HSE have accepted the findings of the COSI study which concluded that better acute stroke services could save up to 750 people from death and institutionalisation each year at a cost saving to the taxpayer of €13 million.
Dr Horgan added that the Irish Heart Foundation was now about to initiate a Cost of Stroke Rehabilitation study, with the support of the HSE, which would investigate the savings that better therapy services could make.
The conference was supported by Servier, Pfizer, Daiichi-Sankyo, Shire and Boehringer Ingelheim.
Media queries to Caroline Cullen, Communications Manager, Irish Heart Foundation
Direct line: 01-6346908 Mob: 086-6049282
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