The key message for Stroke Week 2017, which runs from September 4-10, is to know the four signs of stroke and act FAST*, the Australian Physiotherapy Association is telling locals.
Early recognition of the signs, as well as prompt treatment and rehabilitation will optimise an individual’s recovery and help them achieve their specific health goals.
The revised 2017 Stroke Guidelines, to be released by the Stroke Foundation next week, have a greater consumer focus and recommend that a structured rehab program include as much physiotherapy as possible to aid patient recovery.
Pjysiotherapist Melissa Birnbaum said physios played a vital role within the multidisciplinary team of medical specialists who treat stroke patients.
“Starting a structured rehab program as quickly as possible after a patient has a stroke will optimise their chances of a full, or as full as possible, recovery,” she said.
“Depending on the severity of the stroke, rehab can be done intensively on a one-to-one basis with a physio, or as part of a group circuit class with other stroke patients.
“This is a supportive environment where the patients can see that everyone is working to achieve their own health and mobility goals. Once patients are back at home, it’s important they keep up their physio rehab to ensure their strength and balance is maintained and they are not at risk of falls.”
Tony Kelly, a 48-year-old husband and father of two daughters from Perth, was discharged from hospital after a stroke in July 2016.
At that time, he required assistance walking short distances and primarily moved around using a powered wheelchair.
He also required assistance with showering and moving into and out of bed and his wheelchair.
Intensive physiotherapy focused on the functional goals Tony wanted to achieve – primarily independent showering, walking unaided indoors and transferring himself into and out of bed.
A bespoke walking program was put in place for Tony including walking in different environments and incorporated family supported activities as well as electrical stimulation for his weak muscles.
Twelve months later, Tony had achieved his goal of independence. He no longer required a powered wheelchair, walked confidently indoors and out and showered himself.
His new goal was to return to work as an international sales consultant.
- Face: Check their face—has their mouth drooped?
- Arms: Can they lift both arms?
- Speech: Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
- Time: Time is critical. If you see any of these symptoms call 000