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Stroke Care Champion Award

Nominations for the 2019 Stroke Care Champion Award are now closed.

The winner will be announced at Stroke 2019: The 29th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Stroke Society of Australasia in Canberra during September.

The Stroke Care Champion Award shines a light on health professionals and researchers working tirelessly to improve the lives of survivors, their families and carers.

Held in conjunction with the Stroke Society of Australasia, the Stroke Care Champion Award is open to health professionals and social care professionals who have demonstrated a long term commitment of at least five years in the field of stroke.


2019 Winner

Sandra Lever

Sandra Lever

Clinical Nurse Consultant in Rehabilitation at Graythwaite Rehabilitation Centre, ACI Rehabilitation Network Co-Chair

What does being a finalist for the Stroke Care Champion Award mean to you?

I feel very honoured and privileged to be a Stroke Care Champion Award Finalist. I know that this would not have been possible without the support of the many people I work with who are also passionate and enthusiastic about improving the lives of stroke survivors.

I am so very fortunate to love the work that I do. The acknowledgement this award brings encourages and motivates me to continue working towards making a positive difference in stroke rehabilitation care.

What inspired you to follow this career path?

My career in rehabilitation commenced at a time when there was very little evidence about improving the lives of people following a stroke. I remember thinking that there must be so much more that can be done to improve stroke survivors’ lives and I wanted to be a part of making that difference.

I have been inspired by many exceptional people and I have learnt and been encouraged to do the best that I can in my work. In addition, the strength and courage of the many stroke survivors that I have had the privilege to work with has been a major inspiration for me to advocate and strive towards positive change.

What difference do you hope you can make in the field of stroke?

In addition to providing leadership to the nurses and other members of the team that I work with to maximise opportunities for ensuring the provision of best practice rehabilitation, my dream is to facilitate the change required to improve life after stroke especially in the area of sexuality and intimacy.

The Graythwaite Rehabilitation Centre Sexuality and Intimacy Clinic is a start to providing the opportunity for stroke survivors to be able to talk about sexuality. But I am hopeful the multidisciplinary team program of research, that I am involved in with the Sydney Sexuality Group, will result in a major change whereby health professionals will be comfortable and will have the knowledge and skills required to address this very important and neglected area.

2019 Finalists

Belinda Stojanovski

Belinda Stojanovski

Stroke Nurse Consultant at the Royal Children’s Hospital

What does being a finalist for the Stroke Care Champion Award mean to you?

This nomination is a huge surprise and honour! Not only am I thrilled to see the paediatric stroke space get more exposure nationally, but I’m so happy knowing our efforts to improve the care and outcomes for paediatric stroke survivors are being recognised. This means a great deal to us!

What inspired you to follow this career path?

As a neuroscience nurse, caring for paediatric stroke patients was always difficult because of the unknown and not knowing what to expect in terms of recovery.

In 2010, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to coordinate the Children’s Stroke Program at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. This role has not only enabled me to gain a broader understanding of paediatric stroke, it has also made me a leader in the field.

But it’s my patients that inspire me the most; their determination, their drive, their personalities and their supportive families push me to do better in my role and career.

What difference do you hope you can make in the field of stroke?

With so much happening in the adult stroke space currently, I hope that one day paediatric stroke patients will be able to access the same life-saving treatments as adults to enable them to be the best version of themselves.

Doctor Kien Chan

Doctor Kien Chan

Head of Stroke Rehabilitation at Osborne Park Hospital

What does being a finalist for the Stroke Care Champion Award mean to you?

I see it as an acknowledgement of the efforts that my team and I have put into improving stroke care outcomes. It affirms that what we are doing is resonating with the stroke community.

What inspired you to follow this career path?

My inspiration for entering this field has been Dr Andrew Granger, who started the stroke rehabilitation unit in Osborne Park Hospital and showed me the vast potential for advancement in the area of stroke rehabilitation. His vision for an integrated, holistic and seamless model for patient care is still something my team and I aspire to achieve.

My everyday interaction with my team members, the stroke patients and their carers, inspires me to remain in this field. We learn from every patient and carer’s journey and story. The highs and low points, the successful and not so successful aspects all help us to strive further and higher.

What difference do you hope you can make in the field of stroke?

I want all stroke patients and carers to be given the best possible chance of achieving their best possible outcome. Firstly, this requires them to have access to specialist stroke rehabilitation input. This is currently not the case, especially for rural patients.

Once they have access to this rehabilitation input, it needs to be completely integrated, optimising not just their physical impairment and function, but also their mental well-being, their ability to engage in healthy living and disease prevention, and returning them to meaningful activity. This should be done outside of the hospital setting as much as possible.