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Top Stroke Rehabil. 2009 Jan-Feb;16(1):1-10. doi: 10.1310/tsr1601-01.

Stroke rehab down under: can Rupert Murdoch, Crocodile Dundee, and an Aboriginal elder expect the same services and care?

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Australian Stroke Unit Network, Rehabilitation Medicine, St. Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.


Australia is the world's sixth largest country, has a relatively small population of 21.5 million, and a blended (public and private) health system. In this article, we explain the stroke rehabilitation infrastructure including consumer organisations, research networks, data collection systems, and registries. This represents a complex but fledgling set of organisations showing great promise for coordination of care and research. The article goes on to expose the inequalities in service provision by describing the paths of stroke survivors in three settings - in the city, in the country, and in remote settings. The complexities and difficulties in treating indigenous stroke survivors are described in a culturally sensitive narrative. The article then discusses the outcomes of the first Australian audit of post acute stroke services completed in December 2008, which describes the journeys of 2,119 stroke survivors at 68 rehabilitation units throughout Australia's 6 states and 2 territories. It demonstrates an average length of stay of 26 days, with 18% of survivors requiring nursing home or other supported accommodation. The article concludes with future directions for stroke rehabilitation in Australia, which include hyperacute rehabilitation trials, studies in 7-days-a-week rehabilitation, and the potential use of robotics.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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