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Stroke Care Guidelines

Thursday 2 September 2004

Christchurch DHB First In New Zealand To Adopt Stroke Care Guidelines

Organised Stroke Services To Save Lives And Improve Patient Care

Christchurch Hospital has become the first hospital in New Zealand to implement the Stroke Foundation's Life after Stroke; New Zealand guideline for management of stroke ('The Guidelines'), which will, according to health experts, improve care and life expectancy for stroke patients while freeing up valuable hospital beds in the region. Brian O'Grady, Chief Executive of the Stroke Foundation of New Zealand said New Zealand is lagging behind other countries in terms of providing organised stroke services, and emphasises the importance of implementing organised stroke services nationally, in order to reduce the future burden of stroke in New Zealand.

"Organised stroke services in New Zealand is lagging far behind Australia and Canada. It is great to see that the guidelines have been successfully implemented in Christchurch and are greatly improving the quality of life for stroke people," said O'Grady.

"The Guidelines are based on proven results that will benefit all New Zealanders. Research has clearly proven that The Guidelines save lives, reduce dependency, and increase the chance of patients returning home to live," said O'Grady

230 New Zealander's lives and $10 million will be saved annually if the Life After Stroke; New Zealand Guideline for Management of Stroke (the Guidelines), are implemented by all of the 21 District Health Boards nationwide, according to statistics outlined in the summary of the guidelines.

Key recommendations of the Guidelines are:

· All District Health Boards should provide organised stroke services

· All people admitted to hospital with stroke should expect to be managed in a stroke unit by a team of health professionals with expertise in stroke and rehabilitation.

Developed by 120 medical professionals in 2003, The Guidelines are a Stroke Foundation of New Zealand publication and a source of clinical information and best practice guidelines for stroke management.

The evidence based guidelines, developed by the Stroke Foundation of New Zealand are designed to provide better care for patients admitted with a stroke and at the same time have more effective rehabilitation time, freeing up valuable hospital beds according to a study conducted by Dr Carl Hanger, published in the New Zealand Medical Journal.

Stroke costs New Zealand taxpayers $138 million per year for hospital services alone and the total quantifiable cost of stroke to the country is estimated to be near $237 million per annum, which is over $56 per head of population.


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