Stroke survivor returns as ambassador

A man and three women standing next to each other in a hallway
Stroke Safe Ambassador Jo Rose (centre right) reunites with some of the staff who treated her in 2015, Registered Nurse Caitlin Bowden, Clinical Psychologist Jarred Munro and Physiotherapist Hollie Rafferty.
September 7, 2018

Three years on from suffering a stroke, former patient Joanna Rose returned to the State Rehabilitation Service (SRS) Neuro Rehabilitation Ward at Fiona Stanley Hospital – but this time as a Stroke Safe Ambassador.

At age 44, Jo had a stressful job, poor diet and high blood pressure. In 2015 she had a stroke and was admitted to hospital where she also had a cardiac arrest.

“Within the space of a few days I went from living a fast-paced life as a Human Resources Manager to hardly being able to move and depending on others for assistance with every task,” Jo said.

After a month at Royal Perth Hospital, Jo was admitted to the SRS Neuro Rehabilitation Ward for a month, followed by outpatient rehabilitation.

“Straight away staff told me I wouldn’t be spending all day in my pyjamas and I should expect to work hard – and they were right,” she said.

“Rehab was very challenging but I can’t thank the team enough for pushing me. Because of them I have my life back.”

Jo underwent daily rehabilitation including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, clinical psychology and speech therapy.

“The staff were truly incredible. They are so motivated to help you to achieve your goals and get back to living a meaningful life.”

Today Jo still experiences ongoing symptoms such as impaired balance, vision, memory and concentration, as well as often feeling fatigued and emotional. However, she has learnt to slow down and live a healthier lifestyle.

“Losing my independence was the greatest challenge for me, but with the help of the Neuro Rehabilitation team I have focused on making plans to achieve set goals.”

“I now work two half-days a week, volunteer at a hospital and recently got my licence back which was a great achievement.”

Jo has been a Stroke Safe Ambassador for the Stroke Foundation for six months and recently returned to the SRS Neuro Rehabilitation Ward to educate, motivate and inspire current patients.

“My greatest passion is educating about stroke prevention, both to stroke survivors and people who have never had a stroke.”

Last year 56,000 Australians suffered a stroke but more than 80 per cent of these could have been prevented through eating well, staying active, being smoke-free and getting regular health checks.

For more information about preventing stroke, visit the Stroke Foundation website (external site).

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