Northwest’s stroke network demonstrates improvements in care

The Northwestern Ontario Regional Stroke Network, part of Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, has demonstrated significant improvements in stroke care, according to the latest Stroke Report Card released by the Ontario Stroke Network (OSN) and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES).

The Stroke Report Card reveals that the Northwestern Regional Stroke Network has progressed in 11 out of 17 indicators, with particular success in the areas of acute stroke management and stroke rehabilitation. The improvements are due in part to the establishment of the Hospital’s Regional Stroke Unit in April 2015.

The Stroke Unit is a specialized, geographically defined hospital unit that is dedicated to the management of stroke patients and staffed by an interprofessional stroke team.

Despite geographical challenges, Thunder Bay Regional reduced the time it takes for patients to receive acute thrombolytic therapy (tPA) to 58 minutes in 2015/16. Following further improvements in 2016/17, door to needle time has decreased to 44 minutes.

Stroke patients in northwestern Ontario are also accessing inpatient rehabilitation following acute care two days faster. This success is attributed to working in partnership with rehabilitation services.

Telestroke, an emergency telemedicine service, provides emergency physicians in Dryden, Fort Frances, Kenora and Sioux Lookout with immediate access to an Ontario neurologist with expertise in stroke care who can support both the assessment and treatment of patients experiencing acute ischemic stroke symptoms.

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