SARNIA & PETROLIA – June 19, 2019 – Bluewater Health has led or exceeded the province in key indicators on the 2019 Ontario Stroke Report demonstrating its continued quality of care for stroke patients in Sarnia-Lambton.
Each June CorHealth Ontario recognizes Stroke Month with the release of their annual report cards to illustrate the progress being made in stroke care in the province and also identify opportunities for improvement. The information they provide drives system change and allows for consistent planning across the province. This 2019 report marks the ninth edition of the provincial and Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) report cards, capturing data from 2017/18 fiscal year.
Bluewater Health is recognized for the third year as the provincial high performer for having the lowest proportion of Alternate Level of Care (ALC) days to total length of stay in acute care. This is due to an efficient flow process to help patients move from the acute stroke unit to the inpatient rehabilitation unit or another destination such as home. “The number of patients with stroke who wait in ALC has implications for patient flow across the system, the costs of providing care, access to care in the most appropriate setting and patient outcomes,” adds Dr. Shetty, “Effective discharge planning is essential for smooth transitions through the continuum of stroke care, leading to shorter hospital stays and improved outcomes for patients.” Also of note: the Lambton sub-region has been identified as the provincial high-performer for the number of acute stroke patients who are admitted to inpatient rehabilitation.
After her stroke, Deborah Bardell received treatment at Bluewater Health in 2016, “I was surprised by how quickly after my stroke I was transferred to the rehabilitation unit,” she notes, “but I learned first-hand how important rehabilitation is to my quality of life.” Bardell continues to participate in rehabilitation activities independently and is a source of encouragement to patients in the earlier stages of their recovery.
Bluewater Health also exceeds the provincial benchmark for the percentage of ischemic stroke patients receiving carotid imaging during their acute inpatient stay. “Carotid arteries are the major blood vessels in the neck that supply blood to the brain,” says Dr. Pandu Shetty, Internist and the physician lead for Bluewater Health’s Stroke Program. “In some patients who experience stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA/mini stroke), these arteries are narrowed. Rapid access to carotid imaging helps care providers determine the possible cause of the stroke or TIA and provide treatment to prevent another stroke from occurring.”
Time is critical. Important Information about Stroke.
In recognition of Stroke Month, Bluewater Health encourages people to learn about the signs and symptoms of stroke.
- FAST is an acronym to help people identify the symptoms of a stroke: Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties and Time to call 911 right away.
- Time is critical. The sooner people access medical help following the signs and symptoms of stroke the better the outcome. Patients who access a designated stroke centre within four and a half hours of having a stroke may be eligible for tPA, a clot-busting drug. Endovascular Treatment (EVT) may be an option for patients who are within six hours of a stroke symptom onset and some patients may be eligible up to 12 hours. EVT is a treatment that removes large stroke-causing blood clots from the brain.
- Sarnia’s Bluewater Health is designated as the District Stroke Centre for Sarnia-Lambton, as part of the Southwestern Ontario Stroke Network which is 1 of 11 Stroke Networks in Ontario.
- Calling 911 ensures you are taken to the nearest stroke centre.
Bluewater Health, with locations in Sarnia and Petrolia, cares for the residents of Sarnia-Lambton. With close to 2,500 staff, Professional Staff and volunteers, Bluewater Health provides an array of specialized acute, complex continuing care, allied health and ambulatory care services. Bluewater Health’s Mission is: We create exemplary healthcare experiences with patients and families every time. For more information about Bluewater Health, visit www.bluewaterhealth.ca or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.
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Chief, Communications & Public Affairs