Spring opening for new £1m stroke unit

Linda Dunn at the nurses station at the Huggett Suite.
Linda Dunn at the nurses station at the Huggett Suite.
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A brand new £1m stroke unit is due to open at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary in the spring.

The Huggett Suite, due to open in the spring, will be based in the Centenary Building, and will provide the RLI with six acute stroke beds and an assessment bay.

Stroke patients who come into the Emergency Department (ED) at the RLI will beassessed for eligibility for clot busting treatment in the department before being transferred to the new suite.

There, they will be monitored by staff specially trained to care for patients immediately after a stroke.

The suite is equipped with state-of the art ceiling hoists to make lifting safer for patients and staff, continuous heart monitoring equipment, a patient gym and a therapy kitchen.

Linda Dunn, Clinical Lead for Stroke, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHSFoundation Trust (UHMBT), said: “A designated unit, with staff skilled in the management of acute stroke, will allow us to offer our patients the very best chance of recovery.

“Direct access to this type of unit with close monitoring and early intervention from a multi-disciplinary team is associated with a reduction indisability, death and a reduced length of stay in hospital.

“To ensure that we have the right staff in the unit, the Trust has made a significant investment in registered nursing, physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language Therapy staffing, and we are currently out to recruitment for a number of posts. It is an exciting time for us as a team. Currently, patients who have a stroke would come into ED and then go up to the Lancaster Suite when a bed was free before being transferred to Ward 23 for rehabilitation.

“When the new suite opens, patients will come straight to a dedicated acute stroke bed on the Huggett Suite where theycan be cared for by specialist stroke specialist team.” Ward 23 in Medical Unit 2 at the RLI will remain as a rehabilitation facility for strokepatients who need longer term rehabilitation.

The Huggett Suite was given its name in recognition of the contribution that consultant Dr Isabel Huggett has made to stroke and elderly medicine at the RLI.