Having a Stroke? Think F.A.S.T
In NSW 19,000 people have a stroke each year.
Of those that are hospitalised, over a third come from regional, rural or remote areas.
People in these areas will often live a decent drive from their closest hospital and once they get there, the hospital is unlikely to have a wide range of specialists.
This is a big problem, especially for strokes, since getting quick treatment is one of the most important factors for recovery.
The NSW Telestroke service is a collaboration between the NSW Government and Prince of Wales Hospital that aims to bridge this gap and provide consistent treatment state-wide.
It provides stroke patients in regional areas access to leading specialists and neurologists via telehealth consultations.
This makes sure that they get accurate and timely diagnosis and treatment.
There are currently 23 sites where this program is operating, from Tweed to Broken Hill to Bega.
Since the program commenced in March 2020, over 2,300 patients have been assessed, diagnosed and recommended for treatment.
The difference made to these patients and their families is invaluable.
As we come out of National Stroke Week, from the 8-14 August, it’s important to stay vigilant and be aware of stroke symptoms and prevention.
The best way to keep a stroke from doing serious damage is to remember the F.A.S.T. signs.
Is someone’s face drooping? Can they raise their arms? Are they slurring their speech?
If so, time is of the essence. You need to call 000 as soon as possible.
With growing awareness of these signs and improved treatment, death rates have continued to decrease, halving since 2000.
But recovery can still be an intense and taxing time on both survivors and their support systems.
The NSW Stroke Recovery Association provides telephone counselling at 1300 650 594.
They can provide emotional support, advice for recovery and rehabilitation, information and assistance with health services, and information about their other services such as stroke recovery clubs and online support groups.