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.
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
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 www.cornwallhospital.ca/en/StrokeProgram.