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12th August 2022

Upskilling Regional Clinicians In Identifying Stroke

Stroke Wallaroo

A new educational video for regional clinicians to better identify the symptoms of stroke is being launched at Wallaroo Hospital today (12 August), for National Stroke Week.

Getting to treatment quickly is a critical factor in the survival and recovery from stroke.

The video was funded by The Hospital Research Foundation Group and has been tailored to meet the unique needs of regional clinicians. It was informed by neurology and stroke experts from SA Health’s SA Telestroke service, which provides virtual 24-7 stroke advice and support across all regional South Australian hospitals and to patients and clinicians.

Dr Craig Kurunawai, neurologist and Rural Clinical Lead for stroke within South Australia’s Rural Support Service, said the video was created to support and upskill regional clinicians on the standard Recognition of Stroke In the Emergency Room (ROSIER) triage tool when assessing suspected stroke patients.

“The ROSIER stroke assessment tool is regularly used by regional clinicians and SA Ambulance officers in hospital emergency and inpatient settings when a patient is suspected of an acute stroke,” Dr Kurunawai said.

“Thanks to funding from The Hospital Research Foundation Group, we have been able to work with, metropolitan neurologists, stroke nurse educators and SA Ambulance to develop a professional educational video on the ROSIER tool to help relevant clinicians identify the signs quicker and seek advice and consultation from the SA Telestroke Service”.

“This will now be distributed right across South Australia’s six regional Local Health Networks as part of our emergency teams’ training and professional development.”

Stroke is one of the biggest killers in Australia and a leading cause of adult disability.

Regional patients are particularly vulnerable due to the time involved in accessing a brain scan and expert treatment – which may only be available at a larger hospital or Adelaide.

Woman smiling at camera for headshot photo

Olivia Nassaris, Executive Director of The Hospital Research Foundation Group’s Stroke division, said upskilling emergency teams to quickly identify stroke will save lives.

“Getting to hospital fast and receiving treatment is vital when faced with a potential stroke, so better equipping our emergency workers will speed up this process,” Ms Nassaris said.

“We’re proud to be supporting better educational tools for ambulance officers, ED nurses and medical staff to give them the opportunity to refresh their knowledge about the signs and symptoms of acute stroke.”

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain is blocked or bursts. The public can remember the warning signs of stroke via the acronym “FAST”, meaning Face, Arm, Speech (weakness or drooping in these areas) and Time (seek treatment urgently).

The video project was part of a larger $100,000 grant from The Hospital Research Foundation Group to regional health services as part of the Foundation’s “Local Impact” focus.