Alice Springs Hospital’s stroke care advances

A delegation from the Australian Stroke Alliance’s Darak team and Stroke Foundation recently visited Alice Springs as part of our mission to prepare for advanced prehospital interventions, to support dedicated health carers and to improve stroke care.

The team, with Darak research and engagement officer Janet Richards representing the Stroke Alliance, met with nine organisations from the Alice Springs Hospital, CONGRESS, the Centre for Remote Health and Purple House.

Of the Indigenous stroke patients treated at Alice Springs Hospital, 60 per cent occur in people under 55 years of age, are haemorrhagic and occur predominantly in females – an unusual situation.

Local experts emphasised that prevention of stroke, and rehabilitation were priorities along with the need to address social determinants of housing and food security.

Packages of curated information will be developed to help Aboriginal liaison officers liaise with individual communities to raise awareness of stroke. The ALOs also expressed a need for increased stroke education of community clinic staff and a peer support group for those with lived experience of stroke to address mental health, isolation and to encourage attendance at support services.

Local physician and Stroke Alliance champion Dr Anna Holwell continues to blaze a trail, working alongside by Aboriginal liaison officers and a skilled multidisciplinary team.

Alice Springs Hospital is now one of nine regional hospitals across Australia that are accredited Stroke Capable Regional Hospitals as part of a new certification program designed to improve stroke care. This is the culmination of four years of work to improve stroke capability at the hospital, which began when they joined the SA Telestroke Service, powered by Stroke Alliance technology.

A key to achieving the certification was the creation of a stroke clinical care nurse coordinator, a role which is now in place to provide specialist care for patients and their families.

Working with the Stroke Society of Australasia, the Stroke Foundation has introduced the pilot accreditation program for regional hospitals.

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