Researchers closer to developing new tool to tackle fatigue

Stroke Foundation

Newcastle researchers are one step closer to developing a new tool to help tens of thousands of survivors of stroke who experience the debilitating impacts of post-stroke fatigue.

The ‘Protectometer’ tool, which is a package of educational resources that will be developed with the input of survivors of stroke and clinicians, will help survivors and health professionals identify triggers for fatigue and implement personal strategies to improve recovery and quality of life.

The research project received $79,944 from the Stroke Foundation and is one of five that have been announced as part of the 2023 Stroke Foundation Research Grants.

Principal Researcher for the project, Dr Dawn Simpson, from the University of Newcastle and Hunter Medical Research Institute says the tool will help reduce the impact of fatigue on a survivor of stroke.

“Post-stroke fatigue is life-altering. Survivors I’ve had the pleasure of working with have described it as a complete turn of a switchhere they just have to stop what they’re doing and can’t continue; they feel physically and emotionally wiped out and cannot concentrate or continue to function.”

Fatigue affects more than half of all survivors of stroke, but Dr Simpson says there is a gap in current stroke practices with survivors telling her they receive limited information about fatigue from health professionals and that its often too generalised.

“Fatigue management is not a one-size-fits-all approach. This tool will give survivors of stroke a better understanding of their fatigue and, by working closely with their health professional will provide a tailored approach to fatigue management. As a result, we expect the patient to have greater participation, confidence, and quality of life.” Dr Simpson said.

Stroke Foundation Interim Chief Executive Officer, Dr Lisa Murphy, says this research will go a long way in improving the lives of survivors living with fatigue.

“This is a fantastic research project that will tackle some of the challenges and hurdles that survivors of stroke face when it comes to diagnosis and management of fatigue.”

“It’s pleasing to see that Stroke Foundation has been able to support Dr Simpson and her team who have not only identified a gap in the system but are working closely with survivors and clinicians to co-design a real-world solution.” Dr Murphy said.

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