From Swift Current to Spiritwood, Macklin to Moosomin, it doesn’t matter where you live in Saskatchewan; you now have access to more timely and appropriate care during the first crucial hours of a stroke.
This is due to the launch of the Acute Stroke Pathway which aims to give patients standardized care across the province. This ensures that best-practice service is available from ambulance to emergency room to hospital admission.
“Clinical pathways help ensure patients receive appropriate and timely care,” said Saskatoon cerebrovascular surgeon Dr. Michael Kelly. “They improve access to services, patient experiences and help encourage effective information sharing and communication between patients and their care providers.”
Since 2013 Dr. Kelly and the stroke team experts have worked with partners in our health system to bring local procedures in line with national standards for hyperacute stroke care. By following the Acute Stroke Pathway protocols, more patients can receive early assessment and access to life-changing acute stroke treatment.
There are three key features of the Acute Stroke Pathway in Saskatchewan. The first is extending the time period that patients can receive an emergency evaluation and treatment by eight and a half hours. Today, patients can be brought to a primary stroke centre for evaluation up to 12 hours from when their symptoms began.
Second, within 30 minutes of arrival at the primary stroke centre, patients will now receive CT angiogram (CTA). This will enable a detailed stroke diagnosis to help decide the most appropriate treatment for the patient.
Third, the pathway allows for better access to hyperacute treatment, either in a primary care centre such as St. Joseph’s Hospital in Estevan, or Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert, or it could mean endovascular therapy at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon. Patients who receive hyperacute treatment have a better chance of recovery than patients who receive no treatment.
“Minutes and seconds count when dealing with a stroke,” says Dr. Kelly. “If we can come to an exact diagnosis quickly, we can reduce or even eliminate debilitating damage from a stroke.”