Telehealth key to stroke recovery

Michael PhilippsSouth Western Times
Telehealth-user, stroke patient Kate Haddrill, and husband Ivan with Dr Parthasarathy Ramesh and, pictured on the TeleStroke cart, Dr Tapuwa Musuka.
Camera IconTelehealth-user, stroke patient Kate Haddrill, and husband Ivan with Dr Parthasarathy Ramesh and, pictured on the TeleStroke cart, Dr Tapuwa Musuka.

Bunbury senior Kate Haddrill credits WA Country Health Service’s telehealth program for her recovery after she suffered a stroke earlier this year.

After St John Ambulance officers alerted Bunbury Hospital of Mrs Haddrill’s suspected stroke, Emergency Department doctor Jason Pierce was on standby to use the hospital’s portable wireless videconferencing cart.

He used it to call Fiona Stanley Hospital’s Acute TeleStroke Service specialist neurologist Tapuwa Musuka, to get his expert advice about a course of treatment.

From his desk at FSH Dr Musuka was able to see Kate on screen to see her symptoms – which included speech loss and facial droop on the right side.

He could then ask her, her husband and Dr Pierce questions about her symptoms before recommending a course of action.

The service is under the spotlight this week as part of Telehealth Awareness Week.

Though the stroke has had some impact on Mrs Haddrill’s speech and the use of her right arm and leg, her Bunbury Hospital geriatrician Dr Parthasarathy Ramesh said her outcome might have been very different without the urgent removal of the clot.

“The expertise offered by the emergency doctors with the help of neurologists through telehealth made a significant difference to her recovery,” he said.

“The seamless transitions of care that were provided in her journey from acute stroke to near total recovery allowed a successful return home with husband Ivan.”

Mrs Haddrill said she was pleased with her level of recovery.

“I’m rapt – I can still read the paper, still walk around, still focus,” she said.

“You don’t know what it means to be at home and still focus on things and still get around.”

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