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Stroke Services BC

Important: A stroke or a TIA is a medical emergency that requires immediate medical attention. If you or someone with you experiences any of the FAST signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Stroke

A stroke is a disruption of blood supply to the brain – either through a blockage due to clot (ischemic), or bleeding (hemorrhagic).

The amount of brain affected by the stroke and the type of symptoms a person would experience depends on where the blockage or bleed occurs. In both cases, if the blood supply is not restored quickly, the affected part of the brain dies, causing disability or death.

A transient ischemic attack (TIA) can be considered a “mini-stroke”, when blood flow to the brain stops for a short period of time. A TIA is an important sign of a problem with blood flow to the brain and should be treated as an emergency.

About us

Stroke Services BC formed in April 2011 as a program within the Provincial Health Services Authority. Its vision is to work towards fewer strokes, promote and support world-class stroke care, and ensure the best possible outcomes for stroke patients in BC

Stroke Services BC's mandate is to provide leadership, coordination, communication and project support to implement the provincial stroke strategy, and to ensure ongoing quality improvement and change initiatives.

In partnership with the regional health authorities and physicians, Stroke Services BC endeavours to improve stroke care, identifying areas for targeted improvement. It provides leadership in evidence-based stroke care in BC which has been shown to significantly reduce death and disability, and secondary complications.

Stroke Services BC also:
  • Holds the provincial budget in support of change management and system redesign, and allocates resources to priorities.
  • Monitors individual and system-wide performance.
  • Leads several evaluation and improvement initiatives.
Stroke Services BC is proud of the level of care provided to stroke patients in the province and vast improvements have been made to ensure all British Columbians have rapid access to the care they need, when they need it. 

It is known that rapid access to care, including stroke unit care, can be the difference between life and death for many patients. Stroke unit care reduces the likelihood of death and disability by as much as 30 per cent - which is why BC now has designated stroke centres across the province.

Other improvements include:
  • Transporting stroke patients to the most appropriate hospital, ensuring timely access to necessary care, thanks to a partnership with BC Ambulance/BC Emergency Health Services.
  • Adding 75 new dedicated stroke beds since 2011.
  • Conducting a comprehensive evaluation of rehabilitation practices for stroke by following 230 patients across the province for 60 days to help identify gaps in rehab care. Health authorities are working to address those gaps and ensure harmonized rehabilitation care for patients regardless of where they are rehabilitated.
  • Implementing a web-based learning module for all health authorities and BC Ambulance — approximately 1,500 individuals have completed or are enrolled in the module to date  which enhances expertise in stroke care, enabling them to better care for their patients.
Stroke Services BC continues to work with health authorities, physicians, nurses, health professionals, patients and families to improve all areas of stroke care, from specialized access to health worker education.
 
Through proactive planning and outreach, Stroke Services BC has formed a number of partnerships across the province to improve stroke care in BC. Partners include:

  • BC Brain Injury Association
  • BC Emergency Health Services (BC Ambulance & the BC Patient Transfer Network)
  • BC health authorities: Fraser Health, First Nations Health AuthorityInterior Health, Island Health, Northern Health, Vancouver Coastal Health.
  • BC Ministry of Health
  • BC Patient Safety Quality Council and Clinical Care Management Initiative
  • Heart & Stroke Foundation
  • Stroke Recovery Association of BC 
 

In recent years, BC has seen significant improvements in stroke care and death rates from stroke are on the decline. 

According to a national report released by the Heart & Stroke Foundation in 2014, the gains made in stroke treatment and care will soon be challenged by an aging population, more stroke patients with more complex needs and an increase in the number of younger people having strokes.

There are an estimated 50,000 strokes in Canada every year, or one every 10 minutes, and 315,000 Canadians are living with its effects. Stroke currently costs the Canadian economy $3.6 billion a year in physician services, hospital costs, lost wages and decreased productivity.

Up to 80 per cent of strokes are preventable through primary and secondary prevention efforts such as maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet and no smoking. 

 

Sacha Arsenault, MAL(H), BScOT, BScPhysiology

Provincial Director

Sacha is passionate about improving care and support for people impacted by stroke. This began while working clinically as an occupational therapist, and has grown through her work with partners provincially and nationally.  In 2018, Sacha completed her Masters' degree in Health Leadership at Royal Roads University. She has a keen interest in finding creative solutions to complex problems, understanding diverse perspectives, and the integration of art and science of transforming large-scale health systems.

Katie White, MSc, BScPT

Lead, Provincial Clinical Initiatives & Innovation

Katie develops and manages clinical improvement initiatives across the stroke continuum of care, working in partnership with all of the regional health authorities. She also leads the efforts related to stroke data analysis and reporting, quality system monitoring, and supports clinical registry development and implementation. Katie plays key roles in provincial and national working groups to advance stroke care.

Jenna Beaumont, MRSc, BSLTJenna Beaumont Photo.jpg

Lead, Provincial Clinical Initiatives & Innovation

Jenna, with a master's degree in Rehabilitation Sciences, has experience across the stroke continuum bringing clinical, quality, and leadership experience from work at VCH, Doctors of BC and her own speech therapy practice.  She has a special interest in rural, remote and indigenous health. Jenna will work from the interior health region to lead provincial clinical improvement initiatives for SSBC.

Saida Harle, BSc

Business Analyst, Data & AnalyticsSaida Pic.PNG

Saida completed a BSc in Health Sciences with a focus on population health and statistics. She is passionate about how data can drive systemic change to achieve better patient outcomes. She brings strong analytical experience from Cardiac Services BC, where she was instrumental in the development of the Stroke Registry dashboard. Saida will help develop and operationalize SSBC's data and analytics strategy.

Justine Dhaliwal, BSc

Project Coordinator

Justine has a background in health sciences with a focus on population and quantitative health. She provides ongoing project coordination and management support to Stroke Services BC, across a variety of provincial stroke initiatives.

Alexis Chicoine, BSc

Program Assistant

Alexis has a BSc in Nutritional Sciences with a post graduate diploma in Disability Management and brings a wealth of experience to SSBC from working across various sectors. She provides operational and administrative assistance to the team, as well as coordinating information management. 

 
SOURCE: Stroke Services BC ( )
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