Giving a voice to NSW survivors of stroke

January 19, 2023

Lying in her hospital bed unable to communicate, two months after a stroke that changed her life, Emma Beesley thought there was no light at the end of the tunnel.

Battling depression and uncertainty about the future, it took 12 months for a speech therapist to give a name to the condition that had robbed her of her voice; Aphasia, a language and communication disorder.

“It was like a lightbulb went off, straight away I went on the website and read all about it and thought, yes, this is the reason I haven’t been able to communicate properly,” Ms Beesley said.

Like one in four survivors of stroke, Emma was discharged from hospital with no information about what’s next. Her parents, located three hours away, were left to help navigate the local rehabilitation system.

“When I did get into rehab I was the youngest person there, it was actually quite traumatising.”

More than 1,200 people leave New South Wales’ hospitals each year without the necessary guidance and support to help them navigate the next step in their recovery.

That is why Stroke Foundation is seeking a $2.6m investment over five years to support the StrokeConnect Navigator Program, so New South Wales survivors of stroke will have much more chance of being supported after leaving hospital.

National Manager StrokeConnect Support Luke Hays says the incoming Government has a huge opportunity to review and reset the focus on post-stroke support.

“An investment now in raising stroke awareness and empowering survivors of stroke to make their best recovery possible will create significant change in the years to come and save millions of health dollars for use in other critical areas,” Mr Hays said.

“We believe every person impacted by stroke should be enabled to make their best recovery possible and be supported to return to work, study and family life.

“Regional Australians are 17 per cent more likely to experience a stroke than those in metropolitan areas which is why it’s vitally important that we can provide the same level of care across New South Wales.”

“An investment in these critical services would also allow us to continue to deliver Strokeline which is currently wholly funded by public donations to Stroke Foundation,” Mr Hays said.

“After receiving treatment in New South Wales’ world-class hospitals, survivors should not be left to navigate their recovery alone.”

To find out more about Stroke Foundation’s request for the incoming New South Wales government to invest in its StrokeConnect Navigator Program, visit the advocacy section of the website.