Stroke Foundation has hailed the release of the first ever Australian guidelines for childhood stroke rehabilitation as a step forward in improving the lives of our youngest stroke survivors.
The Subacute Rehabilitation of Childhood Stroke Clinical Guidelines were developed by researchers and health professionals from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Victorian Paediatric Rehabilitation Service to give children the best chance, long term, at an independent life.
Stroke Foundation Clinical Council Member Professor Susan Hillier welcomed the new Guidelines, adding there was a common misconception stroke only impacts older people.
“Stroke can happen at any age and strikes between 200 and 300 babies and children each year,” Prof Hillier said.
“For a childhood stroke survivor, the burden of stroke can last a lifetime and their needs may change as they grow.
“These new Guidelines recognise this along with a survivor’s ongoing potential for recovery.
“The guidelines acknowledge the stroke not only impacts the child, but everyone in that child’s life.”
The Childhood Stroke Rehabilitation Guidelines aim to reduce the long-term functional, psychological, and emotional effects of childhood stroke for the survivor and their family.
A key recommendation for the best possible rehabilitation and outcome was for a team of health professionals, including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, clinical psychologists and dietitians to work together with the child and the family.
Prof Hillier added rehabilitation takes time, dedication and persistence.
“We know families struggle to know what steps to take after a stroke. These guidelines will provide a framework for best practise care and help childhood stroke survivors thrive.
“It’s an important step forward.
“The Guidelines also highlight the many areas where work still needs to be done and this enables us to best focus our research efforts moving forward.”
The rehabilitation guidelines follow the 2017 release of the first clinical guidelines for the Diagnosis and Acute Management of Childhood Stroke.
Childhood stroke facts
1. Stroke is among the top ten causes of death in childhood with the highest mortality in the first 12 months of life.
2. The incidence (number of new cases per year) of stroke is around 2 per 100,000-population.
3. Approximately one third of all cases occur in children less than one year of age.
4. 50-85 percent of survivors of stroke will be left with long term problems which may include seizures, physical disability, speech or learning difficulties.