Cypress Health participating in pilot project on acute stroke care

Written by  Matthew Libenberg
Cypress Health participating in pilot project on acute stroke care

A three-month pilot project on acute stroke care has been carried out at the Cypress Regional Hospital in Swift Current.

Cypress Health CEO highlighted the project during a Cypress Regional Health Authority meeting in Swift Current Sept. 9.
“We piloted the whole protocol and our ER physician is very excited about the diagnostic information that they were getting back, feeling really confident that this is the way forward,” she said after the meeting. “We ran the three-month pilot. It’s now being rolled out in a few other regions and they’ll just continue to roll it out and the protocol will be perfected.”
The acute stroke pathway is a provincial health initiative that aims to standardize the approach to stroke care for Saskatchewan residents. It uses national best practice guidelines and the goal is to ensure that patients have timely access to stroke treatment.
“When somebody comes in and they’re showing signs of stroke, the stroke protocol gets implemented,” she explained. “That means there are certain things that have to happen within a certain amount of time.”
A key step is to conduct a CT scan to confirm it was a stroke and to determine the nature of the stroke, which is necessary to administer the appropriate medication.
“We just used to do CT, but now the new gold standard for stroke care is actually to do CT with contrast,” she said. “That just gives a clear crisper picture within the brain of whether or not it actually is a stroke that’s occurred, because it can be other things and mimic stroke. So you want to ensure that if you’re giving the medication that it’s for the right thing.”
The clinical pathway for acute stroke care was established by experts in the field and the implementation of the protocol ensures that ongoing improvements will take place.
“You have to always put them into your local context,” she said about pathways and protocols. “There may be things that other regional hospitals learn and find that will just enhance the pathway.”
One of the health region’s emergency room physicians, Dr. Jason Gatzke, has been working with the provincial steering committee for acute stroke care.
“So we were fortunate that we have somebody local working at the provincial level who also works in our ER and was able to actually use the protocol,” Vachon said.
Patients benefit from this diagnostic protocol because it enables a physician to start the stroke treatment with confidence.
“You want to ensure that you’re only getting that medication if you actually had a stroke,” she said. “It’s safer, it’s easier to diagnose and ensure the right treatment is happening and it’s time sensitive.”
Health region re-opens 12 hospital beds
Cypress Health Region has re-opened a dozen beds in the combined medical-surgical unit at Cypress Regional Hospital.
These beds were not used during the summer months due to staff shortages as a result of some vacant positions and the need to accommodate staff holiday time.
“We actually managed very well with those beds closed and through the summer did lots of recruiting and have been able to fill all the vacancies,” Vachon said. “So now that we’re back up to full staff we’ve reopened the beds.”
She emphasized the closure of the 12 beds did not have any impact on the hospital’s surgical program.
“We continued to do all the aftercare for surgery,” she said. “What we ended up closing were 12 medical beds, so that would be for a variety of things that people come into hospital for.”
The summer period was an opportune time to close these beds because there is usually a drop in the number of patients during that time.
“The number of slips and falls in winter times on ice, those are the things that bring people to hospital,” she said. “Chronic illnesses may not be as stable at different points in the year and so we just know that historically in the summer it’s a good time to do a bit of a recoup of resources and ensuring that people get that time way.”
The health region has recruited about nine staff to fill a mix of part-time, full-time and casual positions.

via SW Sask News – Prairie Post – Prairie Post

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