main hospital building at night


Stroke Care at CCH Benefitting Our Community


Did you know Cornwall Community Hospital (CCH) is the East Champlain District Stroke Centre in the Champlain Regional Stroke Network? As a District Stroke Centre, CCH is the hub for local stroke care in the Eastern Champlain region. This means local patients who are having signs of stroke and fit the criteria for possible treatment are brought directly to CCH by paramedics.

A suspected stroke is a medical emergency. A stroke happens when blood stops flowing to any part of your brain, damaging brain cells. The effects of a stroke depend on the part of the brain that was damaged and the amount of damage done. Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in Canada and almost 60% of stroke survivors are left with a moderate to severe impairment. The sooner a stroke is diagnosed, the more quickly treatment can begin and the better the outcome will be.

The symptoms of stroke can come on suddenly and without warning. It’s important to act F.A.S.T. to recognize the signs of a stroke: Face (is it drooping?), Arms (can you raise both?), Speech (is it jumbled or slurred?), and if yes, Time to call 911 and do not drive to the hospital.

When a patient arrives at CCH and is suspected of having a stroke, they’re triaged as an immediate priority, and at which point it’s an all hands on deck approach to diagnose and treat that individual as quickly as possible.

The Emergency Department physician and nurse will determine the need to page “Code Stroke” overhead. Paging “Code Stroke” overhead triggers laboratory staff to report to the Emergency Department to retrieve blood from the stroke patient as quickly as possible, and alerts staff in Diagnostic Services to finish with their current Computed Tomography (CT) patient, to enter momentarily. Paramedics will then rush the patient to the CT area and offload them directly on to the CT scanner table.

As this is taking place, the tele-stroke unit in our Emergency Department is set up and prepared for a virtual consultation with a neurologist (neurologists are doctors who diagnose and treat problems with the brain and nervous system). By the time the patient returns to the Emergency Department for the consultation, their CT scan images have already been uploaded so that the neurologist can remotely view the clot and discuss treatment options, including the eligibility for “clot busting” thrombolysis medication and Endovascular Therapy (the procedure to remove the clot).

This all happens in a matter of minutes – from the time that the patient first enters our Emergency Department to the time they receive their tele-stroke consultation with a neurologist.

Depending on the severity of the stroke, patients may require admission to the Acute Stroke Unit. The Acute Stroke Unit has 10 beds designated for patients with a confirmed stroke diagnosis. The unit is staffed by a specially trained, multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, speech language pathologists, therapists, and others, who treat acutely ill stroke patients and help them, and their families, determine the next steps for recovery.

Following a patient’s acute hospital stay, they are discharged and referred for stroke rehabilitation at home or the inpatient rehabilitation unit at the Glengarry Memorial Hospital in Alexandria or Élisabeth Bruyère Hospital in Ottawa.

Unfortunately, patients who have had a stroke are often at higher risk of suffering from another. The Stroke Prevention Clinic at CCH focuses on these patients and those who have had a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), which is a temporary period of symptoms similar to those of a stroke. This outpatient clinic provides individualized, evidence-based secondary prevention management. A healthcare team at the clinic consisting of a registered nurse and a neurologist from the Ottawa Hospital work with patients to develop a plan of care to reduce their risk factors for TIA or stroke.

June is Stroke Awareness Month in Canada. As a District Stroke Centre, CCH is proud to provide centralized stroke services, helping to keep our community healthy. Learn more about our Stroke Programs at CCH and access stroke resources by visiting