Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

June 18, 2012 09:00 ET

Sunnybrook Leads Improvement of Stroke Report Card Ratings

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 18, 2012) - Sunnybrook is leading the way to improve stroke care in Toronto after the release of the Ontario Stroke Network's (OSN) second annual stroke report card today.

Each Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) in Ontario is provided with its own report card by the OSN, which is used to review gaps and identify solutions for the stroke care system. The report card compares the level of access, treatment, and rehabilitation of people who have had a stroke across the province.

Performance at Sunnybrook, which has been a Regional Stroke Centre since 2003, is included in the Toronto Central LHIN report card. The hospital has undertaken several initiatives to enhance the stroke care rankings within its LHIN, the most significant of which is the implementation of a new stroke unit.

The 16-bed unit, which officially opened on June 5, is the first designated stroke unit to open in the Toronto Central LHIN. A team of allied health staff members will work exclusively with acute stroke patients on the unit seven days a week, a level of care that is unmatched by any other stroke unit in Ontario.

"Hospitals with stroke units provide specialized care that improves patient outcomes. Patients will now have access seven days a week to an interprofessional team that includes nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, and social workers, with a focus on earlier integration of rehabilitation into care," says Beth Linkewich, Regional Director, North & East GTA Stroke Network at Sunnybrook.

The opening of the stroke unit sets the stage for system-wide changes to the access and delivery of stroke care in Ontario, and has established Sunnybrook as a leader in implementing these best practices.

"In 1975, Sunnybrook actually opened the first stroke unit in Canada, and possibly North America, but it was no longer functioning by the 1990s due to cutbacks and lack of access to rehab and long-term care facilities," says Dr. Sandra Black, Brill Chair in Neurology at Sunnybrook and the University of Toronto.

"It is very exciting that 37 years later, we again have a stroke unit in place at Sunnybrook. Having this enhanced access to care can shorten the length of a hospital stay for persons with stroke, and improves their chances of making a meaningful recovery," says Dr. Black, who is also Medical Director for the North & East GTA Stroke Network.

With the opening of the stroke unit, Ms. Linkewich anticipates the ratings of the Toronto Central LHIN to improve for next year's stroke report cards. "We anticipate that with the changes being made here this year, we are going to see a difference," she says.

Key facts:

  • Sunnybrook's original stroke unit opened in 1975- the first in Canada, and possibly North America.
  • During the 1980s, due to cutbacks and a lack of access to rehab and long-term care facilities, the stroke unit was no longer functioning as intended.
  • Since the 1990s, evidence has emerged that stroke units are associated with a shorter length of stay, reduced hospital mortality and better patient outcomes.
  • The new 16-bed unit, which officially opened on June 5, 2012, has a dedicated allied health and nursing team available seven days a week.
  • Seven day a week care in the stroke unit is a first in Ontario.
  • Sunnybrook is also the site of the 10 year old, leading-edge Heart and Stroke Centre for Stroke Recovery.
  • Sunnybrook has been a Regional Stroke Centre since 2003.
  • As part of the Ontario Stroke System and the North & East GTA Stroke Network, Sunnybrook is one of 11 Regional Stroke Centres across the province.

About Sunnybrook

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre is inventing the future of health care for the one million patients the hospital cares for each year through the dedication of its more than 10,000 staff and volunteers. An internationally recognized leader in research and education and a full affiliation with the University of Toronto distinguishes Sunnybrook as one of Canada's premier academic health sciences centres. Sunnybrook specializes in caring for Canada's war veterans, high-risk pregnancies, critically-ill newborns, adults and the elderly, and treating and preventing cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurological and psychiatric disorders, orthopaedic and arthritic conditions and traumatic injuries.

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