The Stroke Alliance for Europe (SAFE) is an alliance of stroke support organisations across Europe. SAFE represents over 35 organisations in over 30 countries and aim to reduce the number strokes in Europe and their impact on European citizens by:
- Building a powerful stroke patient voice across Europe by supporting the development of stroke support organisations
- Raising expectations in stroke care across Europe through highlighting prevention, access to treatment and care, and supporting EU research projects
- Increasing stroke advocacy across Europe by developing initiatives at both the EU and country level
Stroke is caused by the interruption of blood supply to the brain, resulting in cell brain death the longer they are deprived of oxygen and nutrients. Approximately 80% of stroke patients have ischemic stroke caused by a clot that blocks the blood supply to the brain. The remaining 20% have a haemorrhagic stroke caused by the rupture of a blood vessel and its bleeding in the brain.
In 2017, nearly 1.5 million had a stroke and there were 9 million people living with stroke across Europe. Stroke is the second leading cause of death globally and the biggest cause of adult disability in Europe and impacts on all aspects of life – economic, social, medical, physical and mental.
Stroke Action Plan for Europe 2018-2030
SAFE along with the European Stroke Organisation (ESO) developed the Stroke Action Plan for Europe (https://actionplan.eso-stroke.org/) in consultation with experts and sets out targets and recommendations across the whole stroke care pathway.
There are four overarching goals for 2030:
- reduce the absolute number of strokes by 10%
- treat 90% or more of all patients with stroke in a dedicated stroke unit as the first level of care
- have national plans for stroke encompassing the entire chain of care from primary prevention through to life after stroke
- fully implement national strategies for multisector public health interventions to promote and facilitate a healthy lifestyle, and reduce environmental (including air pollution), socioeconomic and educational factors that increase the risk of stroke.
Stroke Media and Advocacy Resource Training – SMART
SAFE is running four advocacy training sessions for stroke support organisations in 2021 to help their work on the implementation of the Stroke Action Plan for Europe in their countries. Three SMART workshops have been held so far, the remaining will take place in September.
Topics covered include:
- Advocacy for patients
- Elements of a strong advocacy strategy
- Steps to a strong advocacy strategy
- Involving politicians in a meaningful change for stroke
- Empowering patients to share their story
- Engaging the media
- Turning success in to your personal stroke mission – how to track, measure and evaluate advocacy progress
Life after stroke – webinar series 2021: Shining a spotlight on life after stroke
With more than 9 million people living in Europe with the devastating effects of stroke, even in the midst of a pandemic, stroke still matters.
The pandemic has worsened the stroke burden, with less people seeking timely stroke care, those at risk of stroke have a poorer outcome if they contract COVID-19 and evidence has shown that COVID-19 patients are at higher risk of having a stroke.
With numbers of stroke survivors predicted to increase, life after stroke is even more important and must be a priority for health and social care across Europe. Life after stroke was also included as a key chapter in the Stroke Action Plan for Europe.
The life after stroke series of events (https://www.elasf.org/) is an opportunity to build the life after stroke healthcare, research and patient community, stimulate debate and ultimately improve life after stroke care and build interest for our 1st European Life After Stroke Forum on 11 March 2022.
- Life after stroke: priorities, challenges, and ways forward 12 March 2021
- Intimacy and sex after stroke: how to start the conversation 20 May 2021
- Life after stroke: caring for the caregiver 29 September 2021
- Topic TBC November 2021