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‘One size fits all’ approach not suitable for Newcastle stroke survivor

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A young survivor of stroke is calling for more age-appropriate information to be provided in hospitals and rehabilitation units in NSW.

Newcastle’s Courtney Rubie was 25 years old when she suffered a cerebrovascular accident in May 2020.

While stroke is often still considered as a disease, which impacts the elderly, 24% are now experienced by working age Australians.

“It started as the worst headache of my life,” Ms Rubie said.

“At the time, I was a teacher who was juggling online education during COVID-19, I thought that was the cause.

“I tried to nap it off… and I woke up with a numb arm.

“Then I knew something wasn’t right, so I went to hospital, because I had been on the computer more than usual, the doctors assumed it was a migraine.

“I was just about to be discharged when the seizures started.

“That’s when we realised something wasn’t right.”

Ms Rubie spent the next 10 days recovering in John Hunter Hospital.

“I didn’t receive any information about stroke during my stay… and everyone around me was at least 60 or older,” she said.

“The information I could find was for a much older demographic.

“This made me feel really isolated and had a huge impact on me mentally.

“It would have really helped if I was told about some of the things I might feel in the coming weeks.

“I had to go and do my own research and find my own support.

“And, that [situation] needs to be rectified.”

Stroke Foundation data has revealed one-in-four survivors of stroke are given no post-stroke information and 16% leave hospital without a discharge plan, regardless of their age.

StrokeConnect Support national manager Luke Hays said it was time for the incoming government to review and reset the future of post-stroke support in NSW.

He’s calling on Labor or the Liberals to invest in the organisation’s Navigator Program, which will provide a national support service to help all Australian’s access appropriate treatment after a stroke.

“We believe every person impacted by stroke should be enabled to make their best recovery possible and be supported to return to work, study and family life,” Mr Hays said.

“An investment now in raising stroke awareness and empowering survivors of stroke to make their best recovery possible will create significant change in the years to come and save millions of health dollars for use in other critical areas.

“Regional Australians are 17% more likely to experience a stroke than those in metropolitan areas, which is why it’s vitally important that we can provide the same level of care across NSW.”

To connect with more working age survivors of stroke, visit StrokeConnect’s Young Stroke Project.

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