Guelph General Hospital will be the home of expanded emergency and acute services to treat stroke patients for Wellington and South Grey. As of December 2nd at 7 a.m., GGH:
- Became a “telestroke” site linking the hospital via provincial e-Health services to additional expertise in stroke care;
- Provided clot-busting medications through its emergency department to appropriate stroke patients, helping to improve outcomes when minutes count; and
- Dedicated eight acute care beds for stroke patients in a specific inpatient unit.
These steps are part of a plan to improve access to specialized care across Waterloo and Wellington led by the Waterloo Wellington Rehabilitative Care Council and the Waterloo Wellington Integrated Stroke Program. The goal is to develop an integrated system of care that is more responsive to patients’ needs, offers the best care supported by the latest research and provides consistent care across Waterloo Wellington.
Families are asked to know the signs and symptoms of a stroke and call 911 immediately to save a life. Symptoms to watch for include sudden vision changes, weakness or numbness, trouble speaking, dizziness and/or a headache. Paramedics will quickly bring patients to a designated stroke centre depending on their needs while managing symptoms during transport.
“I would like to congratulate and sincerely thank our clinical teams and our local, regional and provincial partners. They have worked diligently to plan for a new model of care that will improve access to both emergency stroke care and specialized inpatient stroke care at Guelph General Hospital. This change will see Wellington and South Grey patients coming to GGH for stroke care. Waterloo patients will continue to receive their stroke care at Kitchener’s Grand River Hospital,” said Eileen Bain, Guelph General Hospital’s vice president of patient services and chief nursing executive.
Guelph General Hospital will work in tandem with Kitchener’s Grand River Hospital to provide acute stroke care services for Waterloo Wellington. Until now, GRH has been the only Waterloo Wellington hospital providing clot-busting medications and having a dedicated stroke unit.
Stroke is the third leading cause of death across Waterloo Wellington. 870 people a year will have a stroke. Regional studies have shown Waterloo Wellington patients have experienced poorer outcomes from stroke in the past compared to others across Ontario.
In Waterloo Wellington we have among the best cancer and cardiac programs in the province. We’re now improving the quality of stroke care for all of our residents. This work will save lives, improve recovery times, result in better outcome, and ensure all residents have the same access to high quality care across our area.
Last August, the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network’s board approved the creation of an integrated stroke program for hospitals and community service agencies. The plan is based on a business case for stroke care as part of a Waterloo Wellington rehabilitative care effort.
Improvements in stroke services will build a system of care that meets the needs of stroke patients through their recovery by:
- Providing fast access to emergency care and clot-busting medications at GGH and GRH (when appropriate) to save brain function in the early stages of a stroke;
- Improving access to acute in-patient stroke unit care with specially-trained staff to reduce complications and improve patient outcomes;
- Improving access to specialized in-patient rehabilitative care to ensure patients start down the path to recovery earlier, a practice shown to produce better outcomes; and
- Ensuring community services are in place and easy to access to give patients confidence and support to continue their recovery in their own homes or the community.
Further changes to improve stroke care will include the following:
- Providing dedicated stroke rehabilitation at Cambridge Memorial Hospital, Grand River Hospital’s Freeport Site and St. Joseph’s Health Centre Guelph. These sites are putting stroke rehabilitation best practices in place to help improve recovery for stroke patients;
- Coordinating community care to ensure patients have better access to health services after their hospital stay; and
- Providing consistent standards for all stroke care providers across Waterloo Wellington along with a single care pathway. This change will ensure stroke care is consistent for all patients, no matter where they live or are receiving treatment.
These changes will be in place by April 2014.
“In Waterloo Wellington we have among the best cancer and cardiac programs in the province. We’re now improving the quality of stroke care for all of our residents. This work will save lives, improve recovery times, result in better outcome, and ensure all residents have the same access to high quality care across our area,” said Bruce Lauckner, CEO of the Waterloo Wellington LHIN.
“There has been strong cooperation between health service providers to make these changes happen. We’re all focused on improving care and quality of life for stroke patients and their families, especially in the expansion of emergency stroke care coming to Guelph General Hospital,” said Marianne Walker, chair of the Waterloo Wellington Rehabilitative Care Council.
[googlefont font=”Open Sans” size=”18px” margin=”10px 0 20px 0″]Guelph General Hospital[/googlefont]
115 Delhi St.
Guelph, Ontario N1E 4J4