Stroke patients making faster recoveries at hospital

Stroke patients are recovering faster and spending less time at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

Stroke patients are recovering faster and spending less time at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

In the last three years, the average length of time for an acute care stay for stroke patients has decreased from 9.5 days to six days, or a 37 per cent improvement.

The improvement is owed in part to the integrated model of health care that simplifies the health system, speeds recovery and rehabilitation, Allan Sinclair, executive director, Red Deer, for Alberta Health Services Central Zone, said Thursday.

The collaboration of teamwork between the stroke unit, the rehab unit and clinical preventive services allow staff in all departments manage patient care, treat complications and work to decrease the patient’s length of stay to get them home sooner, said Sinclair.

About 300 stroke patients were admitted to the hospital in 2011.

Rob Swanson, the medicine and survey inpatient services director at the hospital, said the unit is one of the busiest in the hospital and the number of stroke patients is increasing.

“We’re doing more measurement than we ever have in the past to be able to establish benchmarks (for patient care),” said Swanson.

“I think the research has really been improving, too, in terms of some of the therapeutics. We know that timely access to stroke care is an absolute critical need. With that need, I think, and the measurement we know how we are progressing or surpassing those benchmarks.”

Swanson said the rate falls in line with the other stroke units in the province and meets provincial standards.

The stroke centre is one of five in the Central Zone and one of 15 primary centres in the province. At the centres, staff are able to connect with stroke neurologists and other specialists at stroke centres in Calgary and Edmonton, which can lead to faster diagnosis and treatments.

All stroke patients are admitted to the hospital’s stroke unit and stay until they are stabilized before moving to the rehabilitation unit or discharged.

The rehab team works with the patients to help them regain their strength and mobility. Both units are part of the hospital’s program and also includes the Stroke Prevention Clinic.

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