Stroke excellence

Read time

From left: Karlee Jones (Physiotherapist), Jess Capelli and Dr Ramesh Durairaj (Staff Specialist in Stroke Medicine).

From left: Karlee Jones (Physiotherapist), Jess Capelli and Dr Ramesh Durairaj (Staff Specialist in Stroke Medicine).

Cairns Hospital has won a national excellence award for its work in managing patients with stroke.

The Cairns Stroke Team received the award for their speed in mobilising stroke patients, prescribing preventative medicine, and managing discharge and rehabilitation.

Stroke strikes the brain, the human control centre. It can change lives in an instant for the individual and their loved ones.

It’s estimated more than 27,400 people in Australia will have a stroke for the first time in their lives in 2021. Last year the Cairns Hospital treated 510 suspected strokes and of these 414 were confirmed cases, with patients varying in age and fitness levels.

One of these patients was Jess Capelli who had a stroke last year and is now fully recovered. ‘The Cairns Hospital emergency department picked it up very quickly,’ said Ms Capelli. ‘I was told I had a 2% chance of survival.’

Dr Ramesh Durairaj, Staff Specialist in Stroke Medicine, said it was really gratifying to see the team recognised for their passion and hard work.

‘The award recognises the excellent performance in all aspects of patient care from the point of admission into hospital through to discharge and care after hospital,’ said Dr Durairaj.'

‘It reflects the promptness with which every patient is investigated and managed. Speed is essential as stroke care is very time sensitive.’

‘Stroke management involves timely assessment by the multidisciplinary team including physiotherapist, occupational therapist and speech therapist and this makes a big difference in outcome for the patient.'

‘Having a stable system of care means we can ensure consistency. We also have reliable data to help react periodically to fluctuations and keep up the performance.’

Elise Bertram, CNC Nurse Navigator Stroke agrees. ‘We have excellent multidisciplinary teams and regularly review our performance,’ she said.

‘We regularly look at data and adjust and react every week.’

The Awards, announced at the 30th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Stroke Society of Australasia in October, recognise Australia’s top hospitals in delivery of quality, evidence-based stroke treatment and care. Cairns Hospital was one of 13 hospitals around Australia to receive the excellence award.

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan said stroke was always a medical emergency, but it could be treated, and it could be beaten.

‘We know that patients with stroke, who get to hospital quickly and are treated in dedicated stroke units, will have the best chance of survival, recovery and prevention of recurrent stroke,’ she said.

‘These hospitals are leading the way. It is particularly heartening to see so many regional hospitals achieving an Excellence Award this year.’

The top performing hospitals recognised were:

  • Port Macquarie Base Hospital (NSW)
  • Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital (NSW)
  • Sutherland Hospital (NSW) * Northern Beaches Hospital (NSW)
  • Redcliffe Hospital (QLD)
  • Townsville Hospital (QLD) * Cairns Hospital (QLD)
  • Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Hospital (QLD)
  • Goulburn Valley Health (VIC)
  • Echuca Regional Health (VIC)
  • Wimmera Base Hospital (VIC)
  • Peninsula Health - Frankston Hospital (VIC)