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The 2022 update of the Canadian Stroke Best Practice Recommendations (CSBPR) for Acute Stroke Management, 7th edition, is a comprehensive summary of current evidence-based recommendations, appropriate for use by an interdisciplinary team of healthcare providers and system planners caring for persons with an acute stroke or transient ischemic attack. These recommendations are a timely opportunity to reassess current processes to ensure efficient access to acute stroke diagnostics, treatments, and management strategies, proven to reduce mortality and morbidity. The topics covered include prehospital care, emergency department care, intravenous thrombolysis and endovascular thrombectomy (EVT), prevention and management of inhospital complications, vascular risk factor reduction, early rehabilitation, and end-of-life care. These recommendations pertain primarily to an acute ischemic vascular event. Notable changes in the 7th edition include recommendations pertaining the use of tenecteplase, thrombolysis as a bridging therapy prior to mechanical thrombectomy, dual antiplatelet therapy for stroke prevention,1 the management of symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage following thrombolysis, acute stroke imaging, care of patients undergoing EVT, medical assistance in dying, and virtual stroke care. An explicit effort was made to address sex and gender differences wherever possible. The theme of the 7th edition of the CSBPR is building connections to optimize individual outcomes, recognizing that many people who present with acute stroke often also have multiple comorbid conditions, are medically more complex, and require a coordinated interdisciplinary approach for optimal recovery. Additional materials to support timely implementation and quality monitoring of these recommendations are available at www.strokebestpractices.ca.
The 2020 update of the Canadian Stroke Best Practice Recommendations (CSBPR) for the Secondary Prevention of Stroke includes current evidence-based recommendations and expert opinions intended for use by clinicians across a broad range of settings. They provide guidance for the prevention of ischemic stroke recurrence through the identification and management of modifiable vascular risk factors. Recommendations address triage, diagnostic testing, lifestyle behaviors, vaping, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, atrial fibrillation, other cardiac conditions, antiplatelet and anticoagulant therapies, and carotid and vertebral artery disease. This update of the previous 2017 guideline contains several new or revised recommendations. Recommendations regarding triage and initial assessment of acute transient ischemic attack (TIA) and minor stroke have been simplified, and selected aspects of the etiological stroke workup are revised. Updated treatment recommendations based on new evidence have been made for dual antiplatelet therapy for TIA and minor stroke; anticoagulant therapy for atrial fibrillation; embolic strokes of undetermined source; low-density lipoprotein lowering; hypertriglyceridemia; diabetes treatment; and patent foramen ovale management. A new section has been added to provide practical guidance regarding temporary interruption of antithrombotic therapy for surgical procedures. Cancer-associated ischemic stroke is addressed. A section on virtual care delivery of secondary stroke prevention services in included to highlight a shifting paradigm of care delivery made more urgent by the global pandemic. In addition, where appropriate, sex differences as they pertain to treatments have been addressed. The CSBPR include supporting materials such as implementation resources to facilitate the adoption of evidence into practice and performance measures to enable monitoring of uptake and effectiveness of recommendations.
In this article, Ontario's stroke rehabilitation system is used to exemplify the challenges faced by rehabilitation and healthcare systems across Canada who are attempting to provide quality care to patients in the face of increasing demands. Currently, Ontario's rehabilitation system struggles in its efforts to provide accessible and comprehensive care to patients recovering from stroke. We begin our exploration by identifying both the primary stakeholders and the underlying factors that have contributed to the current challenges. The framework put forward in the Canadian Medical Association's recommendations for transformation is then used to suggest a vision for a more patient-focused system incorporating three key principles: a broader perspective, a patient-first approach, and greater unity. The use of health information technology, proper incentives, and greater accountability are discussed as mechanisms to improve the quality and efficiency of care.
The purpose of this study was to describe the outcomes of patients with a severe stroke admitted to a specialized “slow stream” rehabilitation program and to develop a model to predict discharge destination.
Chart review of 196 consecutive non-ambulatory (“lower-band”) stroke patients admitted between 1996-2001, to a specialized in-patient rehabilitation unit designed to accommodate the needs of patients with profound disabilities, and who were considered inappropriate for conventional inpatient rehabilitation programs. Special features of this program included the availability of an independent living unit, therapies tailored to individual tolerance and the opportunity to remain on the unit for an extended period until such time that the patients' rehabilitation potential had been maximized.
Patients were admitted to the unit after a median of 49 days following stroke onset. Their median admission and discharge functional independence measure (FIMTM) scores were 46 and 70, respectively. The improvement in ability to perform self-care tasks was statistically significant (Z= -11.18, p<0.0001). By discharge, 54 patients (28%) were able to ambulate independently (with or without an assistive device), while 142 patients (72%) remained wheelchair dependent. Eighty-five patients (43%) returned to their own home upon rehabilitation discharge, while the remainder were admitted to nursing homes or hospitals closer to the patients' home. Admission FIM score, age, no previous history of stroke and male sex were the variables found to most strongly predict discharge home.
Patients with severe strokes who received individualized care on a highly specialized stroke rehabilitation unit achieved impressive functional outcomes despite a lag of seven weeks post stroke before rehabilitation was initiated. Many patients were no longer wheelchair dependent and almost half returned home. Active rehabilitation should not be limited to “middle-band” stroke patients.
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