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2nd April 2022

Two New Grants To Improve Stroke Recovery

Smiling physiotherapist helping older woman while exercising with resistance tape

The Hospital Research Foundation Group – Stroke is proud to announce two new grants to improve stroke recovery for South Australians.

The two $80,000 grants focus on both acute and long-term recovery from stroke, ensuring the needs of patients are better met in hospital and once at home.

Upper limb rehabilitation

A new clinic will be established for people needing more intensive arm therapy once hospital-based rehabilitation has finished.

The student-led model means the service will be highly accessible at between $0-10 each session, and home-based exercises will be made easier through take-home kits.

The clinic will be led by Dr Brenton Hordacre, Physiotherapist and Senior Lecturer at the University of South Australia.

“Stroke patients themselves have identified that they want more intense and longer duration of therapy, to try and restore their arm movements,” Dr Hordacre says.

“Practically, this might mean they can grasp a coffee mug or bring a fork to their mouth during mealtimes, rather than rely on their unaffected limb.

“Thanks to this grant, we can meet this need and establish a dedicated upper-limb stroke recovery service for community patients that will deliver intensive, high-dose therapy.”

Acute care protocols

A new “Screen, Clean, Hydrate” protocol will be implemented in two acute stroke units in South Australia to help address dysphagia (impaired swallowing) and other adverse outcomes.

This approach aims to ensure:

1. Swallow screening is conducted within four hours of admission to prevent adverse consequences of choking or aspiration pneumonia

2. Best practice oral healthcare is implemented to reduce pathogenic oral bacteria and risk of respiratory infection

3. Hydration is prioritised to prevent electrolyte imbalance which can heighten the risk of infection, falls, cognitive impairment and impact recovery.

Dr Joanne Murray from Flinders University will pilot the project at Lyell McEwin Hospital and Flinders Medical Centre.

“Published evidence indicates that each of these processes brings significant benefits to patients, but these have not previously been bundled together to determine whether outcomes can be further enhanced,” Dr Murray says.

“We hope to show the protocol leads to better outcomes for patients and survivors will have improved health, wellbeing, quality of life and recovery.”

Thank you to our donors for making these projects possible! We look forward to keeping you updated.

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