POSITIVE POLICY

Investing In Stroke Awareness And Survival

Tackling one of Australia’s biggest killers and a leading cause of disability, the Shorten Labor Government will deliver a $16 million boost to stroke awareness and follow up care.

One in six Australians will have a stroke in their lifetime, with Australians suffering more than 50,000 new or recurrent strokes this year alone.

Almost half a million Australians are already living with the effects of a stroke, a figure that is expected to climb to over 700,000 by 2032 and almost one million by 2050. But it doesn’t have to be this way – access to quick treatment and support services can save lives and reduce disability.

A Shorten Labor Government will partner with the Stroke Foundation to increase awareness of the signs of stroke and ensure better supports for stroke survivors, including improving access to treatments and support.

Labor’s investment will raise awareness of the Stroke Foundation’s FAST test.

Thinking FAST and acting FAST is critical. Early treatment could mean the difference between death or severe disability, and is critical in ensuring a good recovery from stroke.

Using the FAST test involves asking these simple questions:

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 signs, call 000 straight away.

Strokes can occur to anyone of any age at any time, but every Australian has the power to save a life by thinking FAST and acting FAST when they recognise the signs.

Labor’s investment will raise community awareness by forming local partnerships and re-establishing the StrokeSafe Ambassador program.

The number one issue for stroke survivors is improved care. A Shorten Labor Government will invest in the Stroke Foundation’s follow-up and referral service for around 24,000 stroke survivors. This will facilitate their sustainable, long-term recovery.

Leaving hospital after a stroke can be a very frightening and isolating time for survivors, particularly for those who don’t have family support.

Survivors speak of not being able to access information and services and being left to fend for themselves, unaware of the right places to seek help.

The Stroke Foundation’s follow up and referral service will provide comprehensive post-hospital support to stroke patients, their carers and families.

The service will proactively contact stroke survivors via a phone call at around six weeks post discharge providing a needs assessment, offering assistance and community service referral. The follow-up service will also provide vital information for families and carers as they help their loved one adjust to life after a stroke.

Labor’s investment in stroke awareness and care is further proof that Labor believes that all Australians deserve world-class health care, regardless of where they live or how much they earn.