Hope for stroke sufferers in northern suburbs

THE Joondalup Health Campus is in talks with the State Government about the provision of a stroke rehabilitation service.

A North Metropolitan Health Service (NMHS) spokesman told the Times last week they were in the “preliminary stages of discussions” with the hospital concerning the service that would serve patients residing in the City of Wanneroo.

It follows a motion at the City of Wanneroo’s November 10 council meeting calling for a ‘level 6’ stroke, trauma and mental health rehabilitation service in the area.

Councillors voted to refer the matter back to staff to further strengthen their position before advocating the State Government to get the best outcome for residents.

The Northern Suburbs Stoke Support Group’s Sally Allen said a local, dedicated rehabilitation centre for stroke and trauma patients was crucial for their recovery and ongoing progress.

She said sufferers who once attended Royal Perth Hospital’s Shenton Park Campus for therapy faced greater travel times after the facility closed last year2014 and its rehabilitation services moved to Fiona Stanley Hospital.

“It’s because of the distance,” the Quinns Rocks residentshe said.

“I’d like to see (a northern suburbs centre) offer major trauma, it’s head trauma yep, and major for stroke.

“Things don’t happen in the first year and everything works after that, it takes years for the brain to heal and understand what is required.”

According to 2014 figures from the national Stroke Foundation, the three federal electorates covering Wanneroo – Moore, Cowan and Pearce – collectively had about 7100 people living with stroke and about 750 strokes occurred that year.

Mrs Allen, of Quinns Rocks, told councillors at the meeting that 2014 figures revealed the Wanneroo area had seen 7100 new stroke cases alone.

“There’s no age barrier, anybody at any time can have a stroke; it’s the most devastating thing that could possibly happen to you because now you have a new existence,” Mrs Allen she said.

“You now have to fend for yourself when you come out of hospital because there is very limited access to rehabilitation and without it you won’t recover.

“Time is now critical, rehabilitation is even more so.”

Cr Hugh Nguyen put forward the motion after speaking with a resident who had to travel to Fiona Stanley several times a week with young children and elderly parents in her care after her husband’s car accident.

“Wanneroo is a rapidly growing City… our population currently stands at 187,000 residents (and) that figure is forecast to double by 2036,” he said.

“Developments, particularly along the northern corridor of the district, are expected to continue at a rapid pace along with that will be urban sprawl and a further distance to health facilities such as Fiona Stanley, Osborne Park, Royal Perth and Sir Charles Gairdner hospitals.”

The NMHS spokesman said future planning acknowledged that the northern corridor was one of the fastest growing regions in the Perth metropolitan area with an increased demand for all medical services.

He said Fiona Stanley’s State Rehabilitation Service provided highly specialised rehabilitation to people from across WA and was linked with rehabilitation services located at metropolitan hospitals.

He said JHC currently provided a level 5 public geriatric rehabilitation service and Osborne Park offered stroke rehabilitation services for those 65 and older from the northern suburbs in the form of day hospital and in-patients.

“JHC does offer a rehabilitation service and provides inpatient and non-admitted sub-acute/ rehabilitation services foraged care (older adults 65+) under the care of Specialist Geriatricians,” he said.

“These rehabilitation services differ from FSH where they have the State rehabilitation centre offering comprehensive adult (18+) rehabilitation services, including acquired brain injury and spinal injuries.”

Also read: North needs rehab centres