Canadian Stroke Network
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Canadian Stroke Network

Quality Stroke Care


Quality stroke care is about vision, about excellent people, about passion and about constantly working to make things better.  For more than a decade, the Calgary Stroke Program has fostered a team-based approach, a focus on quality improvement, excellent training and a robust research program to make it a leader in the delivery of stroke care. It is the only comprehensive stroke centre in Canada with Accreditation Canada’s “Stroke Services Distinction.” (Developed by Accreditation Canada and the Canadian Stroke Network, Stroke Services Distinction is based on the Canadian Best Practice Recommendations for Stroke Care.)

The Calgary Stroke Program regularly receives visitors from across the country who want to learn more about its work.

The Canadian Stroke Network has produced a workbook describing the hallmarks of the Calgary program, critical success factors and lessons-learned in care delivery. The 48-page workbook, called This is What Quality Stroke Care Looks Like, includes interviews with more than 35 clinicians, administrators and patients. Hard copies of this workbook are available on request, free of charge, by emailing The workbook is available in English and French.

In 2011, the Canadian Stroke Network released its watershed report on the Quality of Stroke Care in Canada based on an audit of about 10,000 patient charts.

Among its findings:

  • only 22 per cent of patients in Canada receive a brain scan within an hour of hospital arrival. In Calgary, the number is almost 100 per cent;
  • only 23 per cent of stroke patients in Canada receive care in a dedicated stroke unit despite widespread published evidence that shows coordinated care improves outcomes. In Calgary, 84 per cent of stroke patients spend time in the stroke unit.

The experience of the Calgary Stroke Program – from creation of a quality-management framework to accreditation –  serves as a model for other centres in Canada working to achieve delivery of optimal stroke care.

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