Update - 'Continuing the Dialogue' - Peter Couche Stroke Forum

This second full day Stroke Research Forum was hosted by the Peter Couche Foundation and supported by SAHMRI and the three universities (Adelaide, UniSA and Flinders).

As part of the Peter Couche Foundation to champion innovation in stroke we wanted to continue the dialogue that we commenced in 2016– between people who have had a stroke and their supporters, clinicians and researchers. In the first forum we had identified the key research questions and grand challenges that the broader stroke community faces. We also identified the top five priorities that could be undertaken to promote the stroke research agenda in South Australia.

In 2017, 90 people from all the target groups registered to attend over the day. Once again Professor Alastair Burt, Executive Dean from Adelaide University opened the proceedings and our host Stephen Couche then commenced with an introduction from Peter Couche, the Founder of the Foundation. The first item was a presentation by Dr John Sangster, a well-known retired Cardiologist who talked through his own stroke and subsequent recovery pathway over the past 12 months. Next Associate Professor Susan Hillier gave a summary of the Inaugural 2016 PCF Forum – the identified questions and priority actions. After lunch key note speaker Profession Chris Levi, a champion of stroke research and the Executive Director of the Sydney Partnership for Health, Education, Research and Enterprise, presented ‘Embedding Research and Innovation Healthcare – the Challenges and Rewards”.

Associate Professor Tim Kleinig, Head of Stroke for the Central Area Local Health Network (RAH and Lyell McEwin), gave a summary of the most recent developments in stroke services in South Australia. Ms Sharon McGowan, CEO for the Stroke Foundation, presented an overview of the recent National Stroke Audit and Simon Lane (consumer advocate) finished the formal presentations with an update of recent activities in Stroke SA around consumer advocacy.

A panel discussion then developed, where the speakers were joined by Prof Simon Koblar and consumer advocate Saran Chamberlain. Each panel member outlined their most pressing concerns regarding stroke research and initiatives for change in SA, and questions were posed from the audience. The day concluded with an assurance that the dialogue will continue. Individuals had been asked to indicate interest in the initiatives posed from 2016 on sheets provided. These will be summarised and incorporated in future plans.

Summary findings for 2017 in relation to top five actions identified in 2016:

1. Create a consumer advisory group – a pool of people who can work with researchers on projects to help co-design, advise or consult.

2. Create a database of people with stroke - available to be contacted to participate in research.

Funding has been obtained to join the Australian Stroke Register (AusCR) for 12 months. This will create a database of all people in SA who have had a stroke (opt out process via stroke units).

3. Create an SA-based research notice board - where researchers can flag projects for clinicians, carers and people with stroke to inquire about or get involved in.

4. Fundraising to support better research in SA.

5. Networking – opportunities to increase communication and interaction between people with stroke, carers, clinicians and researchers, like an annual forum.

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