To mark World Stroke Day tomorrow, Stroke Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan has urged all levels of government to invest in a service vital to the growing number of survivors of stroke across the country.
Right now in Australia, someone has a stroke every 19 minutes. But without action by 2050, Stroke Foundation predicts that the incidence will increase to someone having a stroke every 10 minutes.
‘Stroke is one of Australia’s biggest killers, sadly more than 27,000 Australians will experience stroke for the first time this year,’ said Ms McGowan.
‘We know that more than 80 per cent of strokes can be prevented through a healthy lifestyle, and if we could prevent more strokes from happening it would ease the burden on individuals, families and the health system.’
Families doing the heavy lifting
In 2021, 75 per cent of Stroke Foundation’s income came from donations and bequests, mostly from survivors and their families. Ms McGowan says it’s time for that to change.
‘Sadly, it’s the survivors of stroke and their families who have done the heavy lifting when it comes to supporting the work of the Stroke Foundation.
‘They are the backbone of our organisation, and we would be lost without them, but it’s now time for governments to step up,’ she said.
Stroke Foundation is calling on the state and federal governments to invest in its StrokeConnect Navigator Program, to support survivors of stroke after they leave hospital.
‘We believe every person impacted by stroke should be enabled to make their best recovery possible, and supported to return to work, study, and family life,’ said Ms McGowan.
‘Sadly, our data shows many Australians leave hospital after stroke without the tools they need to recover and live well. We know 35 per cent of patients go home without a discharge plan, many even describe it as being left in a black hole, and that’s simply not good enough.’
An investment in the future
Stroke Foundation says government investment in the StrokeConnect Navigator Program would ensure more Australians could be supported to manage their stroke recovery, and live well, regardless of where they live, which would have benefits for both the health system and economy.’
They say the program would work with all hospitals across Australia to identify and support each survivor as they leave hospital.
Stroke Foundation is seeking support for the service as a way of ensuring all Australians have equitable access to quality stroke treatment and recovery.