Stroke Management in Australia
A stroke is a great medical problem for all countries. The greatest danger of this illness consists in the fact that a life of a patient depends on hours or even minutes. Moreover, timely stroke diagnosing is already a big step to survival. A correct treatment program can help to avoid serious complications. Current essay will analyse the stroke situation in Australia and give a general idea of its clinical presentation and prevention.
To begin with, it is important to understand that a stroke and a heart attack are two different things. A stroke appears when blood supply to the brain suddenly stops. As a result, it may have fatal consequences or lead to a temporary disability. The longer a stroke remains unnoticed or untreated, the bigger damage it can cause to the brain (Stroke symptoms, n. d.). Nowadays, the situation with stroke in Australia is a serious burden for a country. A lot of measures are taken to prevent strokes and reduce the number of victims. Within Australia there have been significant renovations in the past 10 years to establish special stroke units with a quick access to all possible means of treatment. However, statistical data does not demonstrate a notably stable improvement. “Between 2002 and 2007, there was a 3.9% reduction in in-hospital death and a significant decline in stroke” (Aliprandi-Costa et. al, 2011, para. 15). According to Australian government (2013), “although stroke event rates fell by 25% between 1997 and 2009, the estimated number of stroke events increased by almost 6% in the same period due to the ageing of the population” (Australian government, 2013, p. 6). It is obvious that both objective and subjective reasons affect a stroke situation in Australia.
The most common stroke symptoms are arm and facial weakness, as well as speech disorders. At the same time, the clinical presentation of stroke is rather diverse and may also include such symptoms as: weakness or paralysis of the face, arms or legs, vertigo and loss of balance and vision, as well as swallowing difficulties. A patient may experience severe headaches and in the case he had them before, their character may change (Stroke symptoms, n. d.). Moreover, the National Stroke Foundation determines the F.A.S.T. test as the easiest way to remember the most common stroke signs. This test includes three questions to check simple physical movements and speech acuity. These question may be slightly different, but the general idea of them is to verify, whether a possible victim has some problems with facial movements, lifting his arms and simple words pronunciation. In case any of these reactions seem to be suspicious to his relatives or an emergency operator such patients require a medical help (Stroke, 2013). Surely, such a simple test cannot show a dangerous condition in detail, but it can ensure some prompt assistance for the patient.
After revealing first signs of a stroke, a typical pathway of a victim starts with a fully equipped paramedic ambulance for the first examination and aid. Not to mention that a patient needs immediate help, starting from paramedics and ending with the hospital treatment. Hence, if a paramedic determines the low glucose level in blood, then a glucose tablet or a glass of some sweet drink may help. With the help of a pulse oximeter an ambulance paramedic analyses the blood pressure data and whereas the necessity occurs normalizes the indices with the help of the medicine. Additionally, he should provide the patient with an IV access in case of an acute resuscitation (Clinical guidelines, 2010). Ambulance professionals should contact an emergency department of the nearest hospital before the patient is transported there. The next step is to take the patient to the corresponding stroke unit, where he will have a full blood test including renal function, electrolytes, cholesterol, glucose level tests and an ECG. According to the recommendations of a physician, after the individual examination and determining a type of stroke suspected, a patient may need to perform a computed tomography and to do some other tests. Hospital management of stroke is a complex procedure of treatment courses with a multidisciplinary team included. Besides, a cardiologist will most likely prescribe medicines to prevent blood clots, among which are anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs (Medication and surgery, n. d.).
The main concerns related to the stroke patients after the hospital discharge include a possibility of repeated strokes, heavy consequences and some patient’s state that has not been given special attention, but can stimulate repeated attacks (Clinical guidelines, 2010). This is a reason of why a stroke victim may spend from a couple of days up to several months in the hospital. As well as a specifically trained nursing care team will follow his progress and asses his state on the basis of continuous tests. This fact will allow the patients to have less serious complications and reduce the number of readmissions after the hospital discharge.
A stroke is a factor that can lead to a disability of a patient. Therefore, the more time a patient devotes to the rehabilitation process, the fewer consequences he may encounter. Australian government has developed a number of stroke rehabilitation units that offer a complex of measures to help a person to recover completely from a stroke. These measures include special physical and speech exercising, psychological and social assistance (Australian Government, 2013). Thus, each stage of stroke management is important for successful treatment.
To conclude, it is important to mention that stroke management is one of the first goals of Australian medicine. The main aim of the country in this aspect is to join the world stroke research programs and develop individual emergency methods adapted to the area and Australian cardiologists’ perspective of combating high stroke rates. Australian medical specialists are aimed at uniting the efforts of different disciplines to manage the state and its consequences.