Stroke Services

Stroke is a common disorder with serious consequences for the patient, their family and for communities. In New Zealand stroke remains the single biggest cause of major disability and is the third greatest cause of death.

The Stroke Services Workstream is focused on ensuring that improvements are made in the provision of acute and rehabilitation stroke services delivered across the South Island. The group’s key objectives are to improve the health outcomes for people who have experienced stroke event, and maximising their potential to lead a self-managing and independent life and reducing the recurrence of stroke.

The workstream’s priorities are informed by the New Zealand Clinical Guidelines for Stroke Management 2010 highlights the need for organised stroke services. The critical areas for stroke management where we can improve is by ensuring we provide organised, co-ordinated stroke services and that all people admitted to hospital with stroke should expect to be managed in a stroke unit by a team of health practitioners with expertise in stroke and rehabilitation.

Time is a major factor in outcomes for patients who have had a stroke – it is important they receive medical attention quickly to minimise the ongoing effects of a stroke. Therefore, the Stroke Workstream is implementing rapid response guidelines for patients suspected of having a stroke, along with clear pathways to diagnosis and treatment.

The greatest impact on a patient’s health and well-being is from long-term consequences faced when stroke survivors leave the hospital stroke service. Optimal recovery requires the provision of coordinated rehabilitation, including the early stages of acute treatment and in-hospital rehabilitation as well as home and community based rehabilitation and support.

The Stroke Workstream is working on:

  • Implementing consistent rehabilitation referral and management pathways for patients that ensure they receive the right care and support through inpatient and community-based rehabilitation.
  • Workforce planning and development to ensure health professionals have good access to continuing education on acute and rehabilitation stroke management.
  • The development of a ‘Life after Stroke’ programme to encourage stroke prevention and improved health outcomes among those who have already had a stroke.


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