Hello and good day everyone! I hope that you and your families are enjoying this warm weather that has come into our backyards of late as we move towards the end of school season and into summer barbeque season! While for some the summertime provides the chance for a bit of downtime, at the LHIN we continue our work developing and strengthening the ongoing health care initiatives that are bringing better care to you and your neighbours.
Did you know that June is Stroke Awareness month in the Canadian health care community, and our LHIN is fortunate enough to be home to one regional stroke centre (Hamilton Health Sciences) and two district stroke centres - at the Niagara Health System (NHS) and the Brant Community Healthcare System (BCHS). These centres provide emergency stroke management, acute care and rehab services within hospital as well as outpatient rehab services and secondary stroke prevention clinic services. Through our Voices in the Community series we recently shared with our Board the journey of Ian and Mary Black after Ian’s stroke - an amazing story of determination, focus and resilience (have a tissue handy – for some happy tears!) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rg41TUpnMPg.
In 2013, BCHS and Norfolk General Hospital in collaboration with the Central South Regional Stroke Network (CSRSN) and the HNHB LHIN developed an integrated model for stroke care at BCHS, which includes the integrated stroke unit (ISU) and the development of a community stroke rehabilitation model (CSRM). What does this mean for patients? Better access to acute care and rehab services which reduces the likelihood of death or disability for people that have had a stroke.
The integration of stroke services at BCHS has dramatically improved the lives of individuals who have been treated after having a stroke. Individuals like Matthew, a 56-year-old gentleman who suffered multiple strokes while at work. During his four months in the ISU at BCHS he received a personalized stroke recovery plan and also worked with an expert medical team specially trained in stroke care management.
Thanks to the support of his wife Sharon, friends, family, and the ISU staff Matthew is learning to walk again and has regained mobility in his right arm and leg (the side most affected by his strokes). His determination, combined with a strong support network and staff in the ISU helped Matthew complete his four months of rehabilitation in the ISU and get up and moving again.
Since his release in the early summer of 2014, Matthew continues with his rehab at home with speech, walking, and movement exercises. In addition to his daily practice Matthew also receives out-patient speech, physical and occupational therapy sessions up to three times a week at the BCHS. All of the hard work and dedication Matthew, his family and medical team have poured into his recovery are aimed at improving his immediate daily life and long-term health too.
This year more than 50,000 Canadians will have a stroke and every second counts when getting those people the best care as fast as possible. Visit the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s website to learn more about the signs and symptoms associated with strokes so that you are prepared.
If you or your organization would like to be featured in a future blog or share a patient story in one of our Voices in the Community videos you can reach us through our office, or if you’re on social media via our Twitter handle - @HNHB_LHINgage. Your feedback and questions are always welcome!