Chatham-Kent Health Alliance’s Secondary Stroke Prevention Clinic Enhances Access to Quality Care for High Risk Stroke Patients

CHATHAM-KENT: June 22, 2016 -- Chatham-Kent Health Alliance’s (CKHA) Secondary Stroke Prevention Clinic is enhancing timely access to care for persons at high risk for stroke across the community. Persons who have signs and symptoms of a recent stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), also commonly referred to as a “mini-stroke” are provided with rapid access to Internal Medicine expertise through an expedited referral from the Emergency Department or their Family Physician.
To champion best practices for stroke prevention, CKHA expanded its Stroke Clinic hours in January 2015 from twice a week to daily Monday to Friday in combination with the Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) Clinic. The realignment of clinic hours resulted in a 20 per cent increase in referrals from the previous year, with 392 patients served by the Secondary Stroke Prevention Clinic in the 2015/16 fiscal year.
“We are constantly striving to refine our methods to ensure best possible outcomes for our patients,” said Linda Butler, Coordinator of CKHA’s Stroke Strategy. “Recent improvements to our referral forms offer healthcare providers a better guideline for identifying patients who would benefit from a clinic visit and those who should be considered for admission to an inpatient bed.”
CKHA’s Stroke Care Team target is to see people within 24 hours of referral and refer those who require further assessment and possible surgery for a blockage in their carotid artery – major blood vessels in the neck that supply blood to the brain, neck, and face, within 48 hours. The revised referral includes identifying atrial fibrillation patients – individuals who have an irregular heartbeat, which increases their risk of stroke and heart disease. 
These clinics are a valuable and life-saving resource for patients and their families, offering efficient care with all consultations and tests conducted in a single visit. A typical appointment involves a consultation from a Stroke Prevention Nurse as well as an Internal Medicine Physician, an examination of the arteries in the neck for any narrowing or blockages, a CT head scan and bloodwork if needed. Patients also receive referrals to other healthcare providers such as Dietitians, Physiotherapists, Social Workers and specialist neurological services.  
“Support and education for patients and families are important factors in stroke recovery and prevention,” said Butler. “All patients receive education on stroke warning signs, symptoms, and lifestyle and risk factor modification at the clinic.”
Patients who have suffered a stroke or TIA and require an inpatient bed are admitted to CKHA’s integrated four-bed acute stroke unit or the co-located Rehabilitation unit. Depending on the severity, patients will have an individualized care plan developed by a Nurse Practitioner, Physician, Nurse, Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist, Speech and Language Pathologist, Recreational Therapist, and/or other specialty services. This interprofessional team offers unique therapies and delivers assessments particular to stroke to guide their care and facilitate optimal recovery. Upon discharge, patients are referred to CKHA’s Transitional Stroke Program which offers support to stroke survivors and their families as they transition back into the community with discussion groups, a Stroke Peer Program, community resources and education led by the Stroke Care Team.
In 2003, CKHA was designated as a District Stroke Centre with the Secondary Stroke Prevention and CAD Clinics established in 2006. This initiative is part of the comprehensive Ontario Stroke Network in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. 
Stroke Congress
CKHA and community partners will celebrate life after stroke at the 2nd annual Stroke Congress on October 28th, 2016 at the St. Clair College HealthPlex in Chatham. The day is an opportunity to recognize stroke survivors and share knowledge with patients, partners and the larger health system. 
To view the Save the Date, click here.
To learn more about the warning signs and symptoms of stroke, click here.
For more information contact:
Linda Butler, Coordinator, Stroke Strategy
Chatham-Kent Health Alliance
519.352.6401 x 6900

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