February is #HeartMonth 

February 14, 2023

February is Heart Month in Canada, a necessary time to increase public awareness of cardiovascular disease and what we can do to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. The Canadian Heart & Stroke Foundations 2018 report estimates there are 62,000 strokes every year.

Accreditation Canada’s (AC) Stroke Distinction program is a rigorous condition-specific assessment program recognizing organizations that strive for both clinical excellence and commitment from organizational leadership in evidence-informed practices of stroke care. The program includes integrated best-practice clinical recommendations developed by Heart and Stroke Foundation experts.

There are currently 36 Canadian health care facilities that hold AC’s Stroke Distinction Award. Here are just a few Canadian health systems taking action to achieve clinical excellence in stroke care for the communities they serve.

  • Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) serves a population of more than 500,000 people across Southeastern Ontario. This month, it was awarded its fourth Stroke Distinction Award for acute stroke care. “Our community is fortunate to have a world-class program with such outstanding people throughout the entire continuum of care. Everyone shows responsibility to the people with whom they work and that lets us strive to be better and to meet the challenges of the day. We are a great team!” says Dr. Al Jin, stroke neurologist and Medical Director of the KHSC Regional Stroke Centre. Learn more.
  • Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance (HPHA) is a voluntary collective of four hospitals in Southern Ontario that provide care across the continuum of acute and community-based services. In 2021-22 it provided care for 360 patients diagnosed as having had a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or stroke – and 448 patients visited its Stroke Prevention Clinic. “Preparation for Stroke Distinction assessment has been a driving force for quality improvement initiatives and has emphasized the dedication of a diverse group of individuals who all contribute to the common goal of providing exceptional stroke care for the residents of Huron and Perth counties,” says Joanna Smorhay, Manager of the District Stroke & Dialysis Programs. Learn more.
  • Windsor Regional Hospital serves a population of about 400,000 people in Windsor and the surrounding County of Essex in Ontario. “This achievement is a result of the commitment from leadership and the dedicated, talented frontline staff that provide excellent care every day. The team is looking forward to ongoing opportunities to build on the work that has been done to further strengthen the program,” says Denise St. Louis, Manager, District Stroke Centre Windsor-Essex. – Learn more.
  • Bluewater Health provides specialized acute, complex continuing care, allied health and ambulatory services to about 131,000 patients and their families in Sarnia-Lambton. “Achieving this Award showcases Bluewater Health’s demonstrated clinical excellence and an outstanding commitment to leadership in best-in-practice stroke care,” says Laurie Zimmer, Vice-President of Clinical Services at Bluewater Health. – Learn more.

Follow #HeartMonth and #HeartandStrokeBeatAsOne to see how the world is marking the month and how standards and assessment programs are contributing to successes in meeting UN Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG3), on tackling non-communicable diseases – including stroke – which pose a significant challenge to sustainable development in every part of the world.

You can find additional resources on the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada website at www.strokebestpractices.ca

Accreditation Canada’s Stroke Distinction program

The program is available to organizations and networks that provide acute and/or inpatient rehabilitation services and have a dedicated stroke services program or unit. Learn more.

Accreditation Canada’s Echocardiography Quality Improvement Program

Through the program, we partner with facilities to review them as they relate to the Standards for Provision of Echocardiography in Ontario (2021). The EQI Program Information provides a detailed overview of how the EQI Program conducts on-site reviews and does its assessment of your facility. Learn more.