Male patient in bed with family member by his side

National Stroke Week: How the NSW Telestroke Service is changing lives

4 August 2021

An innovative virtual care service has changed the lives of hundreds of stroke patients in regional and remote NSW and is being recognised this National Stroke Week.

Hosted by Prince of Wales Hospital, The NSW Telestroke Service provides 24/7 access to lifesaving stroke diagnosis and treatment, connecting local doctors to specialist stroke physicians via video consultation.

Telestroke improves patient care

Launched in March 2020, Telestroke is now available at twelve locations in NSW and ensures patients receive specialist care closer to home. The service will be gradually rolled out to 23 sites by June 2022.

Professor Ken Butcher, Medical Director, the NSW Telestroke Service and Director Clinical Neuroscience, Prince of Wales Hospital, said the service bridged more than just geographical distances in the fight against stroke, one of Australia's biggest killers and a leading cause of disability.

“Every year, around 19,000 residents in NSW have a stroke. One of the many Telestroke patients is Mary, who is in her seventies and lives 25 minutes from town in regional NSW,” said Professor Butcher.

Mary: a patient story

Mary collapsed at home and was found by her husband who called an ambulance. On arrival at her local hospital, Mary was triaged, assessed for Telestroke and had a CT scan.

Telestroke Neurologist Dr Evans, who is located in the Central Coast LHD, assessed Mary who by then was paralysed on her left side and had lost some vision.

“Mary was prescribed clot busting medicine and closely monitored for 24 hours in the Emergency Department, before being transferred to the Stroke Unit at the hospital,” said Professor Butcher.

“By the next morning, her condition had returned to normal and she was kept in hospital for observation for another two nights before going home.”

“This Stroke Week I am very pleased to let you know that today Mary is living a happy, normal life and is very thankful for the NSW Telestroke Service,” Professor Butcher added.

Male patient in bed with family member by his side
The NSW Telestroke Service has been life changing

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive, Sharon McGowan congratulated everyone involved in the Telestroke Service for making such an impact for hundreds of stroke patients.

“Telestroke is an absolute gamechanger for regional clinicians to be able to quickly link up with a stroke specialist, thousands of miles away, and enable them to view brain scans and assess the patient through a video call,” Ms McGowan said.

World class service helps save lives

eHealth NSW is proud of the vital role it is playing in providing the technology solutions that make the Telestroke Service possible.

Telestroke leverages the huge investments made by NSW Health in Statewide Infrastructure, Networking and Unified Communications. A key component is Statewide Enterprise Imaging Repository (EIR) which provides the Telestroke Neurologists with rapid access to world class multimodal CT brain imaging for each stroke patient.

The NSW Telestroke Service is a collaboration between Prince of Wales Hospital, eHealth NSW, the Agency for Clinical Innovation and the NSW Ministry of Health.

Stroke Foundation is helping NSW Health organisations to raise awareness of the most common signs of stroke F.A.S.T. (Face.Arm.Speech.Time) and the Telestroke Service as it rolls out across the state.

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*Please note that the patient’s name has been changed to protect their privacy.

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