Understanding stroke

Stroke is a leading cause of disability, with 56,000 Australians suffering from new and recurrent strokes in 2017. Put simply, a stroke happens when blood supply to the brain is interrupted. The blood may be interrupted or stop moving through an artery because the artery is blocked (ischaemic stroke) or bursts (haemorrhagic stroke). Every stroke is different, and the severity of the damage caused during the stroke will determine the individual’s recovery and any disabilities.

Facts about strokes

  • More than 80% of strokes can be prevented.
  • A stroke can happen in childhood and adulthood.
  • 65% of stroke survivors sustain a disability.
  • Treatment following a stroke is crucial.
  • The longer a stroke remains untreated, the greater the chance of stroke-related brain damage.

What are the symptoms of a stroke?

There are three common signs to look out for to determine if a person may be having a stroke:

  1. Check their face – has their mouth drooped?
  2. Can they lift both arms?
  3. Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?

If you see any of these signs, call 000 straight away.

The following signs of stroke may also occur, either alone or in combination:

  • Dizziness, loss of balance or an unexplained fall
  • Weakness, numbness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg on either or both sides of the body
  • Problems with speaking or understanding language, and/or reading and writing
  • Difficulties swallowing and managing saliva, food, and drink
  • Changes to vision, for example sudden blurring or decreased vision in one or both eyes

This information has been provided to us by the Stroke Foundation.

How can we help?

Following a stroke, we can support with rehabilitation once you leave the hospital. Our Allied Health professionals (Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Pathologists, and Social Workers) can support with:

  • Working on your mobility and physical activity
  • Developing your communication skills to help you with speech, reading, writing and understanding language
  • Managing meal times to safely eat and drink
  • Developing strategies to assist with memory and thinking skills
  • Identifying, trialling, and prescribing assistive technology/adapted equipment that can help you to engage and participate in meaningful activities throughout the day
  • Modifying your home to ensure it provides everything you need to access and participate in your favourite activities
  • Understanding your life following a stroke and dealing with the emotions associated with this.