A report into stroke services across Australia released in October 2011 showed a major failure to provide best practice care in acute and follow up services.
Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide, with over 60,000 strokes occurring each year in Australia. Prompt access to specialised treatment units have been shown to reduce deaths and lessen impairments. Yet many Australians are unable to access these units. A report into stroke services across Australia showed many stroke victims are cared for outside of these units – a staggering 42% were unable to access specialised stroke unit care.
Being in hospital is merely the beginning of a stroke survivor’s journey. Rehabilitation and planning for leaving hospital are vital to improving life after stroke, yet over a third of hospitals do not assess their patients’ need for further rehabilitation as standard practice. Four out of 10 hospitals did not give stroke survivors a plan for care after leaving hospital. Two thirds of hospitals had no protocols for reviewing patients after discharge, and one third did not provide any after discharge contact information.
But there is hope. Services like ‘Early Supported Discharge’ are enabling people with mild to moderate strokes to return home sooner with appropriate home based therapy and nursing support in place. Private community based rehabilitation services are also increasing as specialised facilities emerge to fill the gap not currently provided by the public health system.
At ARC we are seeing a growing number of clients with ongoing rehabilitation needs who are discharged home early post stroke and looking for hospital substitution options. We have now made a difference in the lives of over 4000 people. It is often stressed that most improvement is made during the first 3-6 months after stroke, but we frequently see clients with potential to improve their daily function and quality of life way beyond this time frame – years and in some cases even decades later!
Our focus is not on merely helping our clients to recover function enough to live an assisted or independent life, but to aid them in their recovery to achieve the best outcome possible. Our intensive stroke programme is proving increasingly popular and is gaining impressive results. We offer intensive treatment, usually in a one to two month blocks, designed to help survivors achieve their goals and improve their daily life. Treatment can be carried out in our purpose built rehab centre and in your own home, or in a nursing home. It’s never too late!