Ministers launch new stroke standard

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Improving the early assessment and management of patients with stroke is the focus of a new Clinical Care Standard, which was launched today at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital by Federal Minister for Health Sussan Ley and Jillian Skinner, NSW Minister for Health.

Despite well-developed management guidelines, across Australia there are variations in the care and treatment of patients presenting to hospitals with acute stroke or suspected acute stroke.

“Stroke affects around 35,000 Australians each year. This Clinical Care Standard will support the delivery of appropriate care to help ensure patients with stroke receive optimal treatment during the acute phase of management, regardless of where they live,” says Minister Ley.

Jillian Skinner opened the launch and said the Acute Stroke Clinical Care Standard will increase the chance of patients surviving a stroke, maximise their recovery and reduce their risk of having another stroke in the future.

“Receiving the right care, at the right time and in the right place can significantly improve a patient’s chance of surviving a stroke and recovering to lead a full and independent life,” says Minister Skinner.

“This new Clinical Care Standard defines the treatment and care that patients should receive from the onset of their symptoms to the start of their rehabilitation.”

The Acute Stroke Clinical Care Standard, which was developed by the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care, is planned to guide clinicians and health services to provide high-quality care, and support patients and their carers in understanding treatment options.

Dr Erin Lalor, CEO of the National Stroke Foundation, says carers and family members also have a central role to play in acute stroke care.

“The support of carers and family members is very important for the recovery of patients with stroke,” she says.

“This Clinical Care Standard puts the patient at the centre of care, acknowledges the needs of carers, and promotes shared decision-making between clinicians, patients and carers.”

The Acute Stroke Clinical Care Standard is accompanied by a set of supporting resources to support implementation by health services, including indicators, and fact sheets for both clinicians and consumers.

This Clinical Care Standard describes the care that should be offered to patients who experience symptoms that could be a stroke. Patients and their carers can use this information to make informed decisions, in partnership with their doctor.

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