Stroke: survivors and stats

Looking into the latest stats as well as stroke survivors who are slipping through the cracks

How much do you know about stroke across the Australian population?

Infographic by AJP.

Slipping through the cracks

In this month’s issue of the MJA, Queensland health and rehabilitation researchers have delved into follow-up services (or lack therof) for Australian patients who have survived a minor stroke.

They found patients who have a minor stroke are more likely to be discharged home early, often with limited referrals to services beyond their GP.

This is despite increasing evidence that survivors of minor stroke may have persisting impairments which may not be at first apparent.

Findings show:

  • 87% of patients who had a minor stroke reported residual difficulties with mobility, concentration, and participation in social activities and physically demanding leisure activities;
  • 62% had difficulty returning to employment or volunteer work; and
  • 36% had reduced social activity six months after the stroke.

“A GP-led approach that coordinates a range of primary and allied health professionals close to the home of patients who have had a minor stroke may be the ideal way to meet the needs of this population and prevent costly re-admission to hospital, while simultaneously maximising quality of life,” say the researchers.

New and updated resources

This week the Stroke Foundation launched a new guide to help support stroke survivors across Australia.

My Stroke Journey is now also available as an ‘easy English’ version, which was developed with the support of Bayer Australia and launched at Monash Medical Centre this week.

The My Stroke Journey guide provides a comprehensive overview of stroke, preventing future strokes, rehabilitation support and services that may be needed following an event.

The new easy English version will help “the many Australians with poor English literacy, poor health literacy, and people with communication and comprehension difficulties following their stroke,” says Stroke Foundation Victoria State Manager Scott Stirling.

Real stories

“I don’t remember much of the first few days. One minute I was making a cup of tea, the next I was waking up in hospital with people asking me questions,” says stroke survivor Linda in the new guide. “I was able to go home after a few weeks. I still have trouble getting my words out when I’m tired.”

“Imagine waking up and finding that you can’t utter one word,” says Claire. “A few weeks after the stroke I managed to say ‘hello’. Finding the word I wanted to say was challenging enough, but working out how to pronounce it even more testing. When I did manage to speak the words, the ones in my head were often different from those I was verbalising. I couldn’t trust what I was saying.”

“It was the last thing on my mind, that I’d have a stroke. I was reasonably fit, although I did have an underlying blood condition that increased my risk of stroke,” says Tony. “When I arrived at rehab I couldn’t hold my head up because my muscles were atrophied. Rehab taught me how to walk and move through thousands of repetition exercises. It’s the start of a long journey.”

Source: Stroke Foundation 2017. Read more stories here

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