What can employers do to stem the rise of strokes?

The background information

Strokes are being heavily discussed in the media today as a leading charity in the UK, The Stroke Association has revealed new figures that highlights the number of people being afflicted by strokes is soaring.  This rise is particularly stark amongst men in their 40’s and 50’s.

The numbers are quite shocking … there has been a 46% increase in men aged 40 to 54 suffering from a stroke and hospital admissions have jumped 25% in the number of people aged 20 to 64, suffering a stroke between 2000 and 2014.

According to the Association the trend is “a sad indictment” of the nation’s health – research shows that being obese increases the chances of having a stroke related to a blood clot by 64%, although high blood pressure is still the biggest risk.  These numbers are particularly alarming the cost of treatment currently stands at around £9bn a year and this is set to increase.

How does it affect employers?

One stat from an employer stand point is equally as shocking – just 1 in 20 employers recognised cognitive difficulties as a symptom of stroke while just half had heard of the Government’s Access to Work Scheme.

The Stroke Association have also said that the rise in strokes amongst those of working age means more people will be forced to live with the heavy financial impact of the condition.  Stroke survivors unable to return to work can struggle to cope with a fall in income, increased household bills and a benefits system which does not recognise the full impact of stroke, it warned.

What can employers do?

First of all, it is worth stating that reducing the risk factors for heart disease and strokes saves money and lives.  Many of the risk factors for heart disease and stroke are preventable or can be controlled. Workplace health and wellbeing strategies can lead to real cost savings for a company.

To look at how you can save on absenteeism costs, start by answering the following questions for your organisation,

What is your company’s absenteeism rate?

What are your company’s total absentee health care costs (including short-term disability and company sick pay?

Over the last five years, by what percentage have your absentee costs increased?

If these costs are affecting your company’s profit margin then your organisation should consider investing in high quality health checks, which are proven to save businesses money and improve employee health and productivity.   A health check will (confidentially) identify and refer high-risk employees for treatment with their GP.

Offering employees health information on its own is not enough to thrust employees into making instant healthy lifestyle changes. A comprehensive health promotion program that that tackles obesity by looking at nutrition, diet, getting active and keeping fit can educate your workforce and allow them to take away actionable advice for their own health and wellbeing.  To discuss an effective programme for your company please call one of the team on 0844 432 5849 (HEALTHY).

We all have a responsibility!

Everyone can recognise the symptoms of a stroke and take action – you can do this with the FAST Step …

FACIAL weakness: Can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?

ARM weakness: Can the person raise both arms?

SPEECH problems: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?

TIME to call 999.