Stroke/Transient Ischemic Attack

Stroke is the third-leading cause of death and #1 cause of long-term disability among B.C. adults. Training in recognition of symptoms and emergency response is key to reducing death and disability from stroke.

What are we measuring?

  • Percentage of stroke patients who die in hospital or in transitional care units
  • Number of stroke patients who get sent home after discharge versus those who go to a long-term care facility
  • Percentage of stroke patients who receive acute thrombolytic therapy (clot-busting medication)
  • The time it takes a patient with suspected TIA (transient ischemic attack, the precursor to stroke) to go from the emergency department to an assessment by a stroke expert
  • Number of TIA patients referred from an emergency department to a neurologist at a secondary prevention clinic

Island Health Success

Island Health has been showcasing our commitment to stroke-related patient safety since 2004 when the Stroke Rapid Assessment Unit (SRAU) opened at VGH. Since then, stroke teams have been formed at Victoria General, Nanaimo Regional General, Campbell River, Cowichan District and St Joseph’s General hospitals. Island Health stroke teams have been participating in the provincial Stroke and TIA Improvement Collaborative, which started in 2011, to identify areas of stroke care at each of their respective sites that can be improved to benefit patients.

The stroke teams have already made major progress. Through the collaborative, they have focused on improving staff and patient education on stroke and TIA and implementing new protocols for delivering care, known as clinical order sets . The teams have also worked to improve screening in the emergency department to identify patients with TIA and stroke. Care providers have stopped using urinary catheters whenever possible so they can get patients up and moving sooner for rehabilitation.

Working with BC Ambulance crews, staff at Victoria General Hospital reduced the time it takes to get a severe stroke patient into a CT scan to an average of just 10 minutes. Improvements in the past five years at Campbell River Hospital reduced stroke patient deaths to 13%, compared to 23% in 2007. Currently, 85% of TIA and stroke patients at CRH can be discharged home, compared to 28% five years ago.

Learn More from the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council.

BCPSQC Stroke and TIA Backgrounder (PDF)