The primary objective is  to use a survey of hospitals in Ontario  and data available from the Ontario Stroke Audit (OSA) to identify which specific characteristics of Ontario Stroke Units (SUs) appear to be (cost-) effective and are associated with improved patient outcomes, in comparison to non-specialized general medical wards (GWs).

The research questions to be investigated comparing acute stroke care received at SUs to care received in GWs (i.e. care not received at SUs) include:

  1. What are the characteristics of SUs in Ontario (i.e. frequently occurring, common characteristics)?
  2. Are SUs effective, as currently structured in Ontario?
  3. Are SUs cost-effective, as currently implemented in Ontario (i.e. what are the resources used and associated costs)?
  4. Which SU characteristics are associated with improved patient- and system-level outcomes?