Stroke patients in the Lithgow area are benefitting from an innovative new virtual care service that is connecting them in real time with specialist stroke physicians.
The service is part of a $21.7 million initiative being rolled out across NSW.
Deputy Premier and Member for Bathurst Paul Toole welcomed the addition to Lithgow Hospital.
“The 24/7 Telestroke service ensures people who present to Lithgow Hospital with stroke-related symptoms are rapidly diagnosed and treated to achieve the best possible outcomes,” Mr Toole said.
“Doctors at the hospital connect with specialist stroke physicians across the state via video consultation in the Emergency Department and decide the best course of treatment from there.”
“We know that every second is critical. Since the launch of Telestroke in March 2020, 22 sites have joined the program, saving lives and reducing disability for more than 2,000 patients.”
Lithgow Hospital recently successfully treated its first patient using the Telestroke service.
Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District Telestroke Project Officer, Shaun Seldon, said Telestroke offers people living in regional areas increased access to stroke diagnosis and treatment and is already saving lives.
“Within 54 minutes we had our first admitted stroke patient on an appropriate treatment plan. With the assistance of Telestroke the patient was assessed and had CT scans performed, all of which a neurologist viewed live. The outcomes have been great so far,” said Mr Seldon.
Every year, around 19,000 residents in NSW have a stroke and more than a third of people hospitalised for stroke in NSW are from regional, remote or rural areas.
Since 2012 there have been 215 residents who reside in the Lithgow Local Government Area who have been hospitalised with stroke.
Stroke is a time-critical medical emergency that can kill up to 1.9 million brain cells per minute.
It is important people learn to recognise stroke symptoms and call an ambulance immediately, to give stroke sufferers the best chance of a successful outcome.
The F.A.S.T test is an easy way to spot the signs of stroke. FAST stands for:
Face - Has their mouth drooped?
Arms - Can the person lift both arms?
Speech - Is the person’s speech slurred? Do they understand you?
Time - Is critical. If you see any of these signs call 000 straight away.
Implementation of the NSW Telestroke service is a collaboration between the Prince of Wales Hospital, eHealth NSW, Agency for Clinical Innovation and the Ministry of Health.
The NSW Telestroke service is a $21.7 million NSW Government election commitment announced in March 2019 and jointly funded by the NSW and Commonwealth Governments.