Mississauga in Peel Region provides the best possible treatment for brain injury and stroke patients. The city’s Trillium Hospital houses one of Ontario’s comprehensive stroke units providing FAST adult stroke care to the West of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Quick recognition of the signs of stroke and quick access to treatment at one of these stroke units save lives! My family experienced this first hand: here’s our story.
In April 2016, my 86 year old mother had a stroke in Oakville, Ontario. Sitting on the couch at home, mom was reading when suddenly she felt the right side of her body go numb. Filled with fear, she stood up, hopped on one leg (her right leg was numb) over to the refrigerator in the kitchen where she removed a Heart and Stroke magnet from the door. She read the acronym FAST on the fridge magnet and quickly recognized the signs and symptoms of a stroke.
She could not raise her right arm, her right leg and the side of the face were numb. Confirmed: she was having a stroke!
She turned to my sister who was in the kitchen and promptly told her to call 911 because she thought she was having a stroke. Luckily, her speech was not affected. When a stroke occurs, quick stroke treatment saves lives and my mother recognized the symptoms as soon as they occurred.
Paramedics arrived in less than 10 minutes. They immediately rushed her to Trillium Hospital, which is 20 minutes away, the Regional Stroke Centre for the West Greater Toronto Stroke Network.
Regional stroke centres provide timely care throughout the whole continuum from the Emergency to Ambulatory Rehabilitation. It has a unique Comprehensive Stroke Unit where patients receive rapid access to stroke neurologists and diagnostic tests for early treatment.
The neurologist revealed that she had suffered a small stroke and thankfully, her symptoms were beginning to disappear. She did not require the administration of the clot busting medication known as TPA which works to improve blood flow to the part of the brain being deprived of blood flow.
As her stroke was minor, the system requires that the patient return to their own community hospital to continue treatment. Therefore, EMS transported my mother back to Oakville’s new, state of the art hospital to continue with her care.
The Ontario Stroke System (OSS) is a collaborative system of provider organizations and partners that aims to coordinate and improve stroke prevention and care across the entire continuum. Its leadership is provided by the Ontario Stroke Network, and it is funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario.
The OSS is based on a three-tier model of care that includes regional stroke centres, district stroke centres and community hospitals across Ontario. The system aims to benefit all Ontarians, regardless of their geographic location.