Raising Awareness of Stroke Week

Far West Local Health District today recognised the start of Stroke Awareness Week (8-14 September) to raise awareness of the impact of stroke.

Stroke is Australia’s second biggest killer after coronary disease and a leading cause of disability.

Stroke Awareness Week is held annually to raise awareness of stroke and to recognise the dedicated clinicians that provide stroke care.

More than 500 clinicians from across NSW work closely with the Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI) Stroke Network to design and promote better stroke care.

Acting ACI Chief Executive Raj Verma said that although stroke is more common in older people, it can occur at any age, with one in five strokes occurring in people under the age of 55.

“Improvements in stroke care are a direct result of the investment in services by NSW Health and Local Health Districts, and the leadership of organisations like ACI and NSW Ambulance to better coordinate services, share available resources and promote expertise to deliver faster better stroke care across NSW,” Mr Verma said.

Achievements in stroke care supported by the ACI Stroke Network include:

• 39 Stroke Units established across metropolitan and rural NSW providing patients with improved access to expert multidisciplinary stroke care
• 20 Acute Thrombolytic Centres set up to deliver the NSW Stroke Reperfusion Service, allowing more patients to receive rapid early medical assessment including brain imaging, neurology review and early decision on definitive treatment
• Ongoing clinician training to raise awareness of the latest innovations in stroke care
• Support for local health services through audit of services to identify and address opportunities for improvement in stroke care.

ACI A/Chief Executive Raj Verma said that the ACI is continually looking at ways to improve healthcare and collaborate with local healthcare staff to raise awareness of new innovations across the system.

“Today healthcare staff should be commended for their efforts to improve stroke care and encouraged to continue to raise awareness of the early signs of stroke,” Mr Verma said.

Call Triple Zero (000) for emergency help if you or someone you know experiences the following symptoms:

• Weakness, numbness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg – especially on one side of the body.
• Sudden blurred or decreased vision in one or both eyes.
• Difficulty speaking or understanding simple statements.
• Loss of balance, especially when combined with another symptom.
• Sudden severe or unexplained headache.

For more information on the work of the ACI Stroke Network visit: www.aci.health.nsw.gov.au/stroke

NSW Ambulance stroke fact sheet:

http://www.ambulance.nsw.gov.au/Media/docs/090730stroke-fd342cc4-1532-44ed-b496-b28c34e30c29-0.pdf

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