Health and Ambulance Services Minister Cameron Dick has praised social workers on the Fraser Coast who are helping ease the huge emotional toll on patients following a stroke.
“Peta McLean, a senior social worker in Maryborough Hospital’s Rehabilitation Unit, and Rebecca Torkington, a senior social worker in Hospital to Community, are illustrations of the high calibre of staff we have in our hospitals statewide,” Minister Dick said.
“They have teamed up to improve the mood screening of patients in an effort to improve their emotional as well as physical health outcomes.
“Their work is a stroke of genius from two compassionate and talented healthcare professionals, as far as I’m concerned.”
Ms McLean said the National Stroke Foundation recommended that all people should be screened for a mood disorder following a stroke.
“It’s an area where we need to improve because we know that about a third of patients experience depression after having a stroke,” she said.
Ms McLean and Ms Torkington set to work drawing a stroke-specific screening flowchart to develop a comprehensive Post Stroke Mood Assessment Pathway relevant to Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service.
They then implemented the pathway over a 12-month period and evaluated whether rates of mood screening had improved.
Ms McLean and Ms Torkington recently presented their findings at the latest Statewide Stroke Clinical Network conference and Statewide Rehabilitation Clinic Network Forum, where there was strong interest in their work.
“The flowchart assists staff know what tools to use in assessing for depression and anxiety in stroke patients,” Ms McLean said.
“Our job was to research which ones were reliable and effective tools to use in the stroke population and adapt a pathway to suit our area health service.”
Among the biggest things to emerge from their effort was that the Maryborough Rehabilitation Unit had the highest rate of post-stroke mood screenings across the state, sitting at 100% alongside QEII Hospital.
“Those interventions are varied and planned in consultation with the patient – they could involve counselling, medication, a referral to the mental health team, or it could even be more walks outside in the sunshine,” Ms McLean said.
“So we’re not just noting their feelings of depression – we are aiming to improve their psychological wellbeing.” – See more at: https://strokefoundation.org.au/News/2017/03/16/Stroke-of-genius-from-Fraser-Coast-social-workers#sthash.9H94BlVS.dpuf