Supporting First Nations communities through stroke recovery

A new resource to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live well after stroke, has been launched as part of National Stroke Week (Aug 2 – 8).

Our Stroke Journey has been developed by Stroke Foundation with the support of survivors of stroke and their families, health professionals, stroke researchers, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations.

It is an important resource because Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are twice as likely to be hospitalised with stroke than non-indigenous Australians and are likely to have strokes at a much younger age.

Our Stroke Journey provides information to empower Indigenous Australians through their treatment and care and improve the recovery journey and outcomes.

Sheena Watt MP is acutely aware of the inequity the stroke statistics show for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The Yorta Yorta woman, who is the Member for Victoria’s Northern Metropolitan electorate, has shared her story in the Our Stroke Journey resource. Her father John had a stroke at the age of 40 and was completely reliant on his family to care for him.

“We didn’t get any information about stroke. We didn’t have a regular doctor or rehabilitation appointments. It was a very hard time, we had no support from anyone, but we did the best we could,” Ms Watt said.

That dedication and care saw John eventually recover enough to return to playing lawn bowls, and to live a further 20 rich and rewarding years. But Ms Watt said having a straightforward resource like Our Stroke Journey at the time would have made a huge difference.

“I am so pleased to see that this is now available as it will provide our Indigenous communities with an excellent level of information and advice on how to ask for what they need.”

The importance of promoting ‘person-centred’ care is championed by North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network, which covers the lands of the Wathaurung, Woi wurrung (Wurundjeri) and Boonwurrung people.

NWMPHN CEO Adjunct Associate Professor Christopher Carter says his organisation works closely with hundreds of GPs and health practitioners to ensure they have up-to-date, culturally appropriate material, outreach support and integrated programs to deliver impactful health care.

“The impact of stroke on our Aboriginal communities is significant, and the health practitioners across our network are committed to moving the dial where they can,” A/Prof Carter said. “We welcome resources like Our Stroke Journey which provide that key information in the right way.”

Our Stroke Journey is available to the public through the Stroke Foundation website or by calling StrokeLine on 1800787653, as well to health practitioners via the HealthPathways Melbourne portal.

National Stroke Week is the Stroke Foundation’s annual awareness campaign which aims to raise awareness about the risks of stroke and the actions that can save lives. More details on that can be found here.

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