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Government needs to focus on stroke rehab

Government needs to focus on stroke rehab

The Stroke Foundation is calling for more funding for post-stroke rehabilitation services. As highlighted in yesterday’s Sunday programme on TVNZ many stroke survivors have the ability to regain mobility and independence if they receive the right kind and amount of therapy, but most are written off by the system because of insufficient resources.

“Access to publicly funded rehabilitation post-discharge is extremely poor,” said Stroke Foundation CEO Mark Vivian. “Thousands of stroke survivors are condemned to a diminished quality of life as a result. Around half of stroke survivors are disabled to the extent that they are dependent on assistance for daily living. This places a tremendous burden on families and on the state.”

There are an estimated 60,000 stroke survivors in New Zealand. A quarter of all strokes happen to people below the age of 65 and many survivors have to be cared for in residential care homes.

Mark Vivian added: “The Government has recently exerted significant effort to improve acute stroke care, but support for improved rehabilitation needs input. There is good evidence that dedicated hospital based rehabilitation improves the level of patient functioning at discharge, reduces bed-stays and therefore costs, and reduces the number of patients discharged to higher cost hospital level care.

“As TVNZ’s Sunday programme showed, rehabilitation can also achieve benefits long after a stroke if the right effort is put in and the right support available. But apart from a few hours of post-discharge therapy stroke survivors today are left on their own. More input to stroke rehabilitation would restore more people to independence and even employment and free the resources of families and the state from caring for them.”


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