Surgery on the brain under X-ray monitoring.

Emphasising the importance of sustained rehabilitation can help health services cope with rising numbers of people surviving a stroke, a University of Dundee expert has said.

Dr Jacqui Morris, Reader in Rehabilitation Research at the University’s School of Nursing and Health Sciences, said that providing long-lasting support for those living with the aftermath of the condition is now more essential than ever.

It comes as Dundee prepares to welcome delegates attending the annual conference of the Scottish Stroke Allied Health Professions Forum (SSAHPF), which takes place on Wednesday 13 June.

With healthcare researchers and practitioners joining people affected by a stroke for the event, Dr Morris, chair of the SSAHPF, said that the delivery of sustained rehabilitation therapy was crucial for those recovering from the condition.

“Getting people moving and helping them to continue being active is absolutely crucial when they are recovering from a stroke,” she said.

“We have done a lot of research on the barriers people face to being more active, and on what more can be done to improve the effectiveness of rehabilitation therapy, because activity plays a massive role in optimising a patient’s recovery.

“Some people are also more motivated to participate in physical activity and other types of rehabilitation than others, so we have to develop ways of encouraging them and matching exercise and activity to their interests.”

Around 100,000 people in the UK suffer from a new stroke every year, with a further 1.2 million people living with the consequences of the condition.

What is effectively an attack on the brain when its blood supply is interrupted, stroke can be fatal or disabling, often having a lasting impact on mobility, speech, memory and vision.

Medical advances mean that while more people are surviving a stroke, effective rehabilitation has become even more important to lessen the burden on healthcare services.

Delegates will travel from across Scotland to attend Wednesday’s event in the University’s Dalhousie Building, taking part in a series of discussions and workshops throughout the day.

“As more people live with the after effects of stroke, improving recovery and quality of life for patients is something that we should all be interested in, as this will help to ease the strain on health services,” added Dr Morris.

“Events such as this are a great way to share our research and influence how the healthcare sector can adapt to these future challenges.”