Push for better stroke awareness in Murraylands region

Stroke Foundation is asking the incoming South Australian government to help increase awareness of the signs of stroke to help more people in the Murraylands region, and right across the state, get the emergency treatment a stroke requires.

The call is backed by Murray Bridge resident Phillip Rosewall, who had a stroke while riding his bike with some mates in 2015.

Phillip was thankful one of them saw him fall and called triple zero (000) immediately. A doctor also happened to drive past and assisted until paramedics and the air ambulance arrived to take him to hospital.

“My stroke turned my life upside down. I spent two weeks in intensive care and then had to learn to walk again,” Phillip said.

“I was determined to return to cycling and I have achieved that, but the situation may be very different if I did not receive the prompt stroke treatment I needed to stop the attack on my brain.”

Stroke Foundation has spoken to key politicians from all sides of the political spectrum ahead of the election to emphasize the importance of investing in ways to prevent and treat stroke.

That includes funding a four-year community education campaign to reiterate the F.A.S.T message:

The F.A.S.T way to recognise stroke is:

• Face – Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?

• Arms – Can they lift both arms?

• Speech – Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?

• Time – time is critical. If you see any of these signs call triple zero (000) straight away.

Stroke Foundation South Australia State Manager, Luke Hays, said a recent survey found that 41 per cent of South Australians would not recognise a single sign of stroke if it was happening to them or a loved one.

“Our message is simple – think F.A.S.T. We want to hammer home how quickly people need to act,” he said.

“We know that community education works. If we are supported by Government to deliver the F.A.S.T message consistently over the next four years, more South Australians will recognise when they need to seek that urgent, life-saving treatment for stroke.”

The incoming South Australian Government is also being asked to invest in an initiative which would give stroke clinicians consistent access to the most up-to-date treatment guidelines when helping their patients.

Living Evidence is a ground-breaking new approach to finding, evaluating and using research to deliver better health care and improve outcomes for patients. It uses state-of-the-art digital technologies to enable clinical guidelines to be continually updated with the latest research without compromising rigorous scientific review, giving patients and clinicians immediate certainty about how new research should inform care.

Hundreds of new research studies are published each day, but it currently takes 5 – 7 years for guidelines to change. This delays the implementation of new discoveries that can improve outcomes for patients. It can prolong the use of old treatments or approaches to care that don’t benefit patients or worse, cause harm.

The Australian Living Evidence initiative will create a “single source of truth” where clinicians and patients can access current, reliable and trustworthy information to help them make decisions together.

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan said the benefits for survivors of stroke are immense.

“Exciting developments in stroke treatment are on the horizon and we want to ensure every Australian can benefit from these discoveries in a timely way,” Ms McGowan said.

“Having a system which reduces the time from “research bench to clinical action” means every South Australian impacted by stroke is given the best chance to recover well after stroke.”

Stroke Foundation is asking the incoming Government to invest $600,000 over four years to help build a digital technology platform to make the guidelines accessible for South Australian clinicians and patients.

Having access to more treatment options and information is something stroke survivor Phillip Rosewall would welcome.

Phillip in his garden. It is a sunny day and he is wearing a blue top.

Image: survivor of stroke Phillip Rosewall from Murray Bridge backs the Stroke Foundation’s push for a FAST community education campaign

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