COUNTRY SA residents who experience a stroke will have better access to services and treatments with additional 24-hour clinical support for rural and regional hospitals across the state.
The new and improved model of care enables faster and more accurate decision making, which will lead to improved patient outcomes.
Neurologists at metropolitan stroke units will be supporting country stroke patients at the state’s 61 country hospitals via phone and video conference at any time of the day or night.
Under the new levels of care, Flinders Medical Centre will provide phone support to Mount Gambier Hospital and country hospitals in the Southern Fleurieu, South East and Kangaroo Island between 8am and 8pm, seven days a week.
The Royal Adelaide Hospital will provide phone or video conference support to all other country hospitals between 8am and 8pm, seven days a week.
After-hours support from 8pm to 8am will be provided to all country hospitals by the RAH.
Country Health SA’s executive director for medical services Hendrika Meyer said the support was a “game changer” for country stroke patients.
“The neurologists will help country doctors quickly identify patients suitable for transfer to Adelaide, or those who can receive their treatment close to home,” Doctor Meyer said.
Until today, Thrombolytic therapy, which involves surgery to remove a clot from the brain, was only offered at Mount Gambier, Whyalla and Riverland hospitals during business hours, Monday to Friday, with additional support from metro neurologists.
This service will expand to 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Royal Adelaide Hospital’s head of unit and clinical director for COuntry Health SA Tim Kleinig said the new model was especially important for country hospitals where CT facilities were not available.