Provincial effort to improve stroke care in Alberta is 'paying off'

October 2, 2012

Stroke care has improved considerably in Alberta following the implementation of the Alberta Provincial Stroke Strategy (APSS), leading to more targeted patient care and fewer health complications, according to a study presented today at the Canadian Stroke Congress.

Nearly 97 per cent of stroke patients received a brain-imaging scan during their admission to hospital in 2011, compared to 88 per cent before the APSS was implemented in 2006.

"The faster a patient has access to brain imaging, the faster they get the right diagnosis and the right treatment," says lead author Dr. Thomas Jeerakathil of the University of Alberta. "We are enhancing care for stroke through the Provincial Stroke Strategy and it's paying off throughout the province."

Researchers analyzed more than 4,500 and found an increase of 18 per cent in the number of patients receiving swallowing screens after stroke—from 38.2 per cent before the APSS to 56.6 per cent at the peak of the APSS's success. Conducting swallowing screens reduces the risk of aspiration , a complication caused when a patient who is unable to swallow properly absorbs into their lungs.

In addition, the number of patients receiving care in a designated stroke unit rose to 53.6 per cent from 26.9 per cent over the course of the project, an increase of 27 per cent. Stroke unit care reduces the likelihood of death and disability by as much as 30 per cent for people with mild, moderate or severe stroke.

The APSS directed its efforts toward raising care standards and spreading awareness of quality benchmarks based on guidelines including the Canadian Best Practice Recommendations for Stroke Care, Dr. Jeerakathil says. Primary Stroke Centres were also established throughout Alberta to provide health-care professionals with more education and experience managing .

"Alberta's high quality of provides an excellent example to all Canadian ," says Dr. Michael Hill, Co-Chair of the Canadian Stroke Congress. "The success of this reorganized care campaign shows what is possible when dedicated physicians work together to improve care."

"Alberta's integrated stroke system is making a real difference," says Ian Joiner, director of stroke for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. "Provincial stroke strategies, whether in Alberta or elsewhere in Canada, continue to provide the foundation for positive and lasting outcomes for Canadians."

The Alberta Provincial Stroke Strategy (APSS) is a project funded by the Alberta Provincial Government to improve stroke prevention and care in the province. Alberta Health and Wellness, provincial health zones and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Alberta, NWT and Nunavut are working together to ensure all Albertans have access to the right services. Together these partners form the Alberta Stroke Council.

The Canadian Stroke Congress is co-hosted by the Canadian Stroke Network, the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Stroke Consortium.

Explore further: Provincial stroke strategy improves care for rural residents in Nova Scotia

Related Stories

Provincial stroke strategy improves care for rural residents in Nova Scotia

October 1, 2012
Stroke patients in rural Nova Scotia receive better treatment and are less likely to end up in long-term care facilities than they were before the province's stroke strategy was rolled out in 2008, according to a study presented ...

Telestroke the next best thing

October 4, 2011
The use of long-distance video and data hookups to link remote community hospitals with stroke neurologists in large centres provides the same level of care as having everyone in the same room, according to a new study presented ...

Expand telestroke in all provinces to save lives, reduce disability

October 2, 2012
Widespread use of telestroke—two-way audiovisual linkups between neurologists in stroke centres and emergency rooms in underserved and rural areas—would save lives, reduce disability and cut health-care costs in all parts ...

Calgary stroke support programs help navigate life after stroke

October 2, 2012
It takes one to know one, especially when it comes to stroke recovery, according to two new Calgary programs providing support and resources to 1,200 stroke patients.

Screening for post-stroke depression inadequate and inconsistent, study finds

October 1, 2012
Physicians are prescribing anti-depressants for stroke patients without first giving them a proper diagnosis, they are over-treating some patients, and overlooking others, according to a study presented today at the Canadian ...

Exercise improves memory, thinking after stroke, study finds

October 1, 2012
Just six months of exercise can improve memory, language, thinking and judgment problems by almost 50 per cent, says a study presented today at the Canadian Stroke Congress.

Recommended for you

Mouse studies shed light on how protein controls heart failure

October 18, 2017
A new study on two specially bred strains of mice has illuminated how abnormal addition of the chemical phosphate to a specific heart muscle protein may sabotage the way the protein behaves in a cell, and may damage the way ...

Newborns with trisomy 13 or 18 benefit from heart surgery, study finds

October 18, 2017
Heart surgery significantly decreases in-hospital mortality among infants with either of two genetic disorders that cause severe physical and intellectual disabilities, according to a new study by a researcher at the Stanford ...

High blood pressure linked to common heart valve disorder

October 17, 2017
For the first time, a strong link has been established between high blood pressure and the most common heart valve disorder in high-income countries, by new research from The George Institute for Global Health at the University ...

Saving hearts after heart attacks: Overexpression of a gene enhances repair of dead muscle

October 17, 2017
University of Alabama at Birmingham biomedical engineers report a significant advance in efforts to repair a damaged heart after a heart attack, using grafted heart-muscle cells to create a repair patch. The key was overexpressing ...

Blood cancer gene could be key to preventing heart failure

October 16, 2017
A new study, published today in Circulation, shows that the gene Runx1 increases in damaged heart muscle after a heart attack. An international collaboration led by researchers from the University of Glasgow, found that mice ...

Mitochondrial DNA could predict risk for sudden cardiac death, heart disease

October 11, 2017
Johns Hopkins researchers report that the level, or "copy number," of mitochondrial DNA—genetic information stored not in a cell's nucleus but in the body's energy-creating mitochondria—is a novel and distinct biomarker ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.