BGH and PSFDH combined stroke unit sees serious drop in mortality rates

‘You have to survive to recover.’ That was the message at a low-key celebration Friday in the cafeteria at Perth’s Great War Memorial Hospital. Of those attending, Linda Weese, a stroke survivor herself, spoke briefly saying her journey with the Stroke Network of Eastern Ontario has been long and emotional. Others at the celebration, and pictured above surrounding Weese (fifth from left), included: Dr. Kate Stolee, Michele Bellows, Cally Martin, Susan Roberts, Patricia Hudson, Colleen Murphy, Julie Caffin, Bev McFarlane and Nick Vladrolias. Photo by Sally Smith
Posted on: January 12, 2018

Outcome for stroke survivors from Lanark, Leeds and Grenville Counties drastically improves as a result of joint effort by Brockville General Hospital and Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital.


A person who experiences a stroke is more likely to survive, recover and return home when a specialized team provides early stroke care. Collaboration between Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital (PSFDH) and Brockville General Hospital (BGH) created a combined Acute Stroke Unit in Brockville. Together, BGH and PSFDH updated care paths and developed standard care practices and orientation programs for the combined unit.

Beginning in May 2016, people presenting with stroke to the Perth and Smiths Falls Emergency Rooms who required admission to hospital were transferred to the expanded six-bed Acute Stroke Unit at BGH.

The Acute Stroke Unit includes a specialized team of doctors, nurses, therapists, a social worker and others, who work with the patient and their family to determine the next steps for recovery. Upon discharge, patients receive care within their community. An evaluation of the first year of care provided by this combined stroke unit has recently been released.

Report findings

In-hospital mortality rates experienced within the first 30 days dropped to 6.6 per cent. Previous rates, based on the three years prior to implementation of the combined stroke unit, were 17.4 per cent for PSFDH and 8.4 per cent for BGH.

The Acute Stroke Unit provided care to 196 patients from across Lanark, Leeds and Grenville Counties between May 2016 and March 2017. This included 53 patients from PSFDH.

“Seeing these results is incredible! Together, we have made a difference in stroke care in our community. We have saved lives! I am incredibly proud to be a part of this project, ” said Linda Weese, stroke survivor and patient advocate

The project has been a joint collaboration between the PSFDH and BGH teams, the Stroke Network of Southeastern Ontario and the South East Local Health Integration Network.

“The goal of the project was to ensure that the people of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville Counties had the opportunity to receive specialized stroke unit care from an experienced team of professionals. The research told us that a stroke unit would improve outcomes for stroke patients in the area. The results surpassed our expectations. Many stroke survivors and their families have benefited. What a tremendous success by the BGH and PSFDH teams,” said Cally Martin, Regional Director, Stroke Network of Southeastern Ontario.

The project team continues to work to ensure all health care providers are well informed on transfer processes to facilitate a positive experience for patients and families across Lanark, Leeds and Grenville