Revelstoke, Salmon Arm and surrounding communities will benefit from improved stroke care following this week’s designation of Shuswap Lake General Hospital as a Thrombolytic Centre for stroke treatment.
Thrombolytic medications are used in the treatment of some strokes to clear blocked arteries. In select cases, it may reverse some or all of the stroke symptoms.
Early diagnosis and treatment can make a tremendous difference for a stroke patient’s recovery. The new designation means that, in many cases, patients presenting to the SLGH Emergency Department with an acute stroke may be treated with thrombolytic medications on site instead of travelling to Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. Residents in the Revelstoke area who were previously outside the time window for thrombolytic medications will also benefit from the new designation at SLGH as they can now access this important treatment sooner.
“Time is critical. The sooner someone reaches the Emergency Department, the more likely that strokes resulting from clots can benefit from treatment,” Dr. Todd Collier, IHA’s medical director for Regional Stroke Strategy, said in a statement. “Remember ‘FAST: Face, Arm, Speech, Time.’ If the face is drooping on one side, or there is weakness in one arm, or if speech sounds slurred or strange, it is time to call 911.”
In order to become a thrombolytic-enabled site, a hospital must have:
- 24/7 CT scanning capability
- Physician support to administer thrombolytic therapies
- Implementation of standardized regional order sets. These offer best practice approaches for care providers to use when patients present to Emergency Department with stroke symptoms.
- Stroke education for staff
- Appropriate supports for post-Emergency management of stroke patients
- Access to rehabilitation services (local rehabilitation services for mild to moderate strokes, and referral processes for patients requiring more intensive rehabilitation at the tertiary sites).
Building on the successes of last year’s BC Stroke Collaborative, the team at SLGH has been diligently working to meet these criteria and improve stoke care in the region. Collaboration with BC Ambulance Services has also been vital in achieving these advances in stroke care, the statement said.
Interior Health continues to build on other recent improvements, including the implementation of TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack, or mini-stroke) clinics to treat patients with warning symptoms of impending stroke, and staff education initiatives in Emergency Departments and acute care settings.
“Our sincere congratulations to those on the stroke team who have worked hard to ensure SLGH meets the criteria to improve the quality of stroke care in the community,” IH’s chairman, Norman Embree, said in the statement. “The ongoing collaboration and education occurring throughout Interior Health has been really tremendous.”
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in Canada, 500,000 strokes occur per year in Canada and 300,000 Canadians live with the disability resulting from stroke.