Connection crucial after stroke

March 15, 2022

A Hobart health professional has thanked her local stroke support group for helping her navigate the road to recovery after experiencing a stroke in July last year.

Although physiotherapist Lesley Hall has a strong knowledge of stroke after spending 35 years working with survivors of stroke and traumatic brain injury, she said connecting with people with similar lived experiences was empowering.

“Since my stroke I have suffered from fatigue which can affect my speech and communication,” Lesley said.

“But after joining the Hobart Stroke Support Group, I know I am not alone. I can share my thoughts and learn from others, which has helped me adapt my life.”

Stroke strikes the brain and can change lives in an instant. It’s estimated more than 600 first-time strokes will be experienced in Tasmania this year, while there are more than 11,000 survivors of stroke in the community. 

Stroke Foundation Tasmania State Manager Eamonn O’Toole said recovering from a stroke is an ongoing process which can be incredibly challenging.

“I am pleased Lesley is utilising the Hobart Stroke Support Group to form connection and friendships with people who understand the physical and emotional impact of stroke – not only on themselves, but also on their loved ones,” Mr O’Toole said.

“We know support like this makes a positive difference to wellbeing.”

Lesley’s story also highlights the importance of knowing how to recognise a stroke. Lesley knew the most common signs of stroke and called triple zero (000) when she realised she couldn’t understand the text on her iPad and her words were scrambled. She described the moment as though her mouth working was but her brain wasn’t.

Stroke Foundation urges the community in Hobart and surrounds to learn and share the most common signs of stroke, known as F.A.S.T.  

Face – Check their face. Has their mouth drooped? 

Arms – Can they lift both arms? 

Speech – Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you? 

Time – Time is critical. If you see any of these signs, call 000 straight away.

The Hobart Stroke Support group meets each month – alternating a friendly coffee catch up with a formal meeting. During the formal meetings guest speakers cover a variety of rehabilitation topics and take questions. The group has approximately 40 members of all ages. New members are welcome. More details here.

We acknowledge the Tasmanian Government for investment in the work of Stroke Foundation in Tasmania, which includes F.A.S.T. awareness. In the lead up to the Federal election this year, Stroke Foundation is calling on the incoming Australian government to invest $5m in a nationwide F.A.S.T awareness campaign, so more people learn how to recognise a stroke and what to do next, as Lesley did. This is part of the Stroke Foundation election platform.  

Image: Hobart’s Lesley Hall is recovering from stroke with the help of the Hobart Stroke Support Group