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This Stroke Awareness Month, join the conversation that could help save lives

If you or someone you know has had a stroke, seeking care and supporting recovery during COVID-19 may be especially worrying. Stroke Services BC has collected a number of resources to help navigate stroke care, during and after the pandemic.
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Stroke Services BC and the health authority stroke programs are committed to supporting our patients and ensuring access to care as the situation evolves with COVID-19. This Stroke Awareness Month, we are emphasizing three key areas of stroke care:

  1. Know the signs of stroke and act FAST; time lost is brain lost. Every minute counts when you or someone you know is having a stroke.

  2. People experiencing strokes should call 9-1-1 immediately – even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  3. Stroke is a major life event. It can affect different parts of your ability and your day to day life. It affects each person differently. Learn about the different changes you might encounter, and get advice on how to manage.

Signs of stroke

When it comes to stroke care, a number of clinicians and providers diagnose, treat and rehabilitate patients. One group of care providers in particular plays a key role as the initial point of contact: paramedics.

Advanced Care Paramedic, Nadine, explains the importance of identifying the signs of a stroke and acting fast:


If you or someone around you experiences any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately. Do not drive to the hospital; an ambulance will get you to the best hospital for stroke care. Quick treatment helps limit damage and increases chance of full recovery.

One-third of stroke patients in Canada wait too long for help and with stroke, brain damage begins in minutes.

A transient ischemic attack (TIA)—sometimes referred to as a "temporary" stroke—produces the same symptoms as a stroke, but those symptoms are temporary and are usually gone within an hour. However, it can be a warning that a stroke is imminent and is still a medical emergency.

Strokes and TIAs are medical emergencies. Knowing the signs of stroke and acting quickly can improve your chances of survival and recovery.

Living with stroke

Stroke often has a long recovery time, and coming home from the hospital requires adjustment for patients, families and caregivers. The links below from expert organizations can assist in your recovery.

  • The Canadian Stroke Best Practices website provides a number of resources around stroke and TIA prevention, getting on with your life after stroke and taking charge of your stroke recovery.

  • The Heart & Stroke Foundation also has many resources to support living with stroke. This includes the HSF healthcare insights during COVID-19 podcast with Stroke Systems of care podcast with Dr. Andrew Demchuk, a stroke neurologist and Director of the Calgary Stroke Program. Dr. Demchuk shares his expert perspective on the most critical challenges facing stroke systems during COVID-19 and insights into potential solutions.

  • The Stroke Recovery Association of BC has information and resources on their website around recovery and life after stroke. This information is for both stroke survivors and their families and caregivers. 

Additional resources to support stroke care during the COVID-19 pandemic:

For people living with stroke:

For stroke care providers:

  • PHSA's Office of Virtual Health (OVH) and Digital Health Team have developed a Virtual Health toolkit for use during the COVID-19 pandemic. It features solutions and support for health care providers so they can continue to provide care to their patients while maintaining physical distancing

Cultivating partnerships that make a difference for stroke patients

When a stroke happens, every second counts.

The health system needs to work quickly and seamlessly – getting patients to the right place, at the right time, and for the right care. This requires an enormous amount of coordination between teams and services, from early prevention and education to stroke recovery and rehabilitation.

"Stroke Services BC is a program that truly relies on our partnerships", said Katie White, manager with Stroke Services BC. "We focus on quality improvement, setting standards for the province, and best practice implementation - and we can't do any of that on our own." 

For the last decade, Stroke Services BC has partnered with the five geographic health authorities, First Nations Health Authority, related PHSA programs like Cardiac Services BC, universities, community partners like Heart and Stroke Foundation, and patient and family partners – acting as a bridge between groups.

Please visit the Stroke Services BC page or email to learn more about the program and how it works to with its provincial partners to ensure the best possible outcomes for stroke patients in British Columbia – from acute to rehabilitation to long-term care.

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