Bluewater Health ‘high performer’ when it comes to stroke care

Provincial 'report card' shows organization as leading in two indicators

Bluewater Health officials say the organization is leading the province again in two key indicators on the 2018 Ontario Stroke Report Card released in June, demonstrating quality care for stroke patients in Sarnia-Lambton.

With June being Stroke Month, officials say the 2018 Ontario Stroke Report Card (which is based on fiscal year 2016/17 data) shows it leading the province for the third consecutive year for the highest percentage of ischemic stroke patients receiving carotid imaging during their acute inpatient stay.

“Ensuring patients get the right tests and subsequent treatment, as quickly as possible and in the right care setting can make a significant difference to a patient’s ability to survive a stroke, determine the cause and course of treatment and improve the chances for a better recovery,” says Paula Gilmore, director, Rehabilitation, Stroke/Vascular and Dialysis, Bluewater Health.

Bluewater Health is also recognized for the second 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. An efficient flow process is being credited for helping patients move from the acute stroke unit to inpatient rehabilitation, with no stroke patients designated ALC in this category.

“Ensuring patients get the right tests and subsequent treatment, as quickly as possible and in the right care setting can make a significant difference to a patient’s ability to survive a stroke, determine the cause and course of treatment and improve the chances for a better recovery,” says Paula Gilmore, director, Rehabilitation, Stroke/Vascular and Dialysis. “The Ontario Stroke Network’s annual stroke report card is a key resource at Bluewater Health’s District Stroke Centre for Sarnia-Lambton. The information is used to continually improve stroke-related care across the continuum of care.”

When Detective Constable David Schoch had a stroke at work, his co-workers recognized the FAST symptoms of stroke right away and called 911. Schoch was rushed to Bluewater Health in Sarnia, Lambton County’s District Stroke Centre. As per the protocol for all suspected stroke patients, he was assessed quickly to confirm his stroke diagnosis and treatment was initiated immediately upon confirmation of a stroke.

“Having the expertise of a District Stroke Centre right here at Bluewater Health in Sarnia and the right tests readily available to confirm my stroke made it possible for my medical care to start immediately,” says Schoch, “I have learned, first hand, that with a stroke, every second counts; a quick assessment and the right medical care could be the difference between life and death. I encourage everyone to learn how to recognize the FAST stroke symptoms and to call 911 to ensure they get to the nearest District Stroke Centre.”

Important information about 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 three 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.
•    Bluewater Health in Sarnia 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.

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