South West LHIN Quality Awards

July 3, 2015

The Southwestern Ontario Stroke Network Stroke Capacity Assessment and Best Practice Implementation Project won a South West Local Health Integration Network (SW LHIN) Quality Award at its recent Quality Symposium.

The SW LHIN has the highest number of acute hospital sites in Ontario with 19 corporations and 28 hospital sites presently caring for stroke survivors.

An average of 1,416 stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA) patients per year are admitted to hospitals in the SW LHIN. Of these hospitals, there are three designated stroke centres and one telestroke hospital.

Evidence indicates hospitals admitting less than 130 ischemic stroke patients a year have 38 per cent higher odds of a 30-day mortality rate compared to hospitals admitting 205 – 470 ischemic stroke patients per year.

There is a need to realign stroke services into designated stroke centres of excellence that have specialized stroke units with dedicated, skilled professionals who have access to best practice tools and resources in order to maximize outcomes and reduce mortality. In addition, stroke survivors require timely access to thrombolysis and specialized stroke rehabilitation either in hospital or in the community.

To achieve better patient outcomes, stroke survivors must be treated in facilities with a sufficient critical mass. Currently only one facility in the SW LHIN meets the critical mass outlined by Health Quality Ontario and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s Quality Based Procedures: Clinical Handbook for Stroke (Acute and Post-acute).

Through extensive collaboration with the 28 hospital sites as well as engagement with stroke survivors and their loved ones, agreement has been reached to realign stroke services to seven future stroke centres of excellence.

“We received incredible support from everyone across the LHIN and are now working on the implementation plans to be able to make it happen,” says Cathy Vandersluis, Director, Mental Health Care Program and Infection Control. Vandersluis was until recently Director of Clinical Neurosciences.

The project team examined stroke care services across the LHIN and determined the type and level of services required to meet the needs of the population according to best practice.

Acute stroke care, inpatient stroke rehabilitation as well as specialized community based rehabilitation have been the focus of the capacity assessment. Recommendations for the realignment of stroke services across the LHIN were supported at the SW LHIN Board of Directors in March 2015.

Says Vandersluis, “There are other groups throughout the province which are looking at how we are moving this work forward, how we engage the facilities, leadership teams and physicians in order to achieve that future state.”

To view a short video which includes the perspectives of several patients and family members, click on Patient Experience.

Project Governance
The project governance includes the Southwestern Ontario Stroke Network, LHSC, Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance, Grey Bruce Health Services, Parkwood Institute, and all hospitals corporations in the SW LHIN, Emergency Medical Services and the CCAC.

Group photo

The Southwestern Ontario Stroke Network Stroke Capacity Assessment and Best Practice Implementation Project team received a quality award at the recent South West LHIN Quality Symposium.