Stroke prevention is a critical component of the stroke care system – the more people know about their risk factors and how to reduce them, the less likely they are to have a stroke.
Quinte Health’s Stroke Prevention Clinic (SPC) opened in 2004 and is one of four SPCs through the Ontario Stroke System in Southeastern Ontario. This outpatient clinic is located at Belleville General Hospital (Sills 2). The Stroke Prevention Clinic is run by an interprofessional team of nurses, clerks and physicians, and functions under the clinical leadership of Dr. Leandra Grieve-Eglin, Quinte Health’s Medical Director and Chief of Internal Medicine.
Patients who have had a stroke or have signs and symptoms of stroke may be referred to the SPC by the Sills 3 Integrated Stroke and Rehabilitation Unit (after receiving inpatient care), by their family physician, or by an emergency department doctor. The goal is to prevent future strokes by assessing risk factors through screening and diagnostics, and educating patients on lifestyle changes.
Katie Williams is a casual nurse in the Stroke Prevention Clinic who also works in the Trenton Memorial Hospital Emergency Department. “When I see patients in the emergency department, they’re usually in an acute state of stress and there isn’t time to explore risk factors and modifications,” said Katie. “But here in the Stroke Prevention Clinic, we can ask questions, work with the wonderful Diagnostic Imaging team to do further tests, do a medication review, provide education, and help patients set goals for lifestyle modification like smoking cessation, or refer them for nutrition counselling or diabetes education. Patients are generally very receptive to making changes to reduce their risk factors.”
Patients typically visit the SPC one to three times, depending on their situation. They are often referred to other clinicians to help with lifestyle modification, or can sometimes be referred to Kingston Health Sciences Centre specialists for neurology or vascular surgery.
“Prevention is important,” said Dr. Leandra Grieve-Eglin. “We want patients to live healthy, independent lives. If we can help patients and their loved ones to take action and to consider ways to reduce their risk factors for stroke, we are succeeding. It’s a collaborative effort among many disciplines across our hospitals and with our community partners. We all have a role in education, prevention and creating healthier communities.”
Quinte Health is currently seeking the national award of Stroke Distinction through Accreditation Canada for excellence in stroke care. There are several standards and metrics in the Stroke Distinction Program that relate to stroke prevention, and the excellent work of the Stroke Prevention Clinic will be vital to our success in obtaining Stroke Distinction when the on-site survey happens May 28-30, 2023.
Thank you to this small but mighty team for their valuable work!