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June is Stroke Month at St Michael’s Hospital


Dr Charles Kassardjian, Staff Neurologist, kicked off June is Stroke Month at St Michael’s Hospital. His presentation titled “Quality Improvement Efforts for Stroke at St Michael’s Hospital” demonstrated the ongoing efforts the hospital is undertaking to continue to provide excellence in stroke management and care.

Amin Mali, a person with stroke and a Peers Fostering Hope volunteer presented to hospital staff. His talk titled, “The Road Not Taken”, described his stroke journey, how he relied on hope and persistence to recover, and the incredible improvements he has made.


The components of this work include:

1. The Ontario Core Elements outlining the key 15 components of care delivery for Secondary Stroke Prevention Clinics and/or its equivalent.

2. Implementation Tool Kit which includes strategies and tools that align with each of the core elements  to assist organizations with the prioritization and implementation of best practices.

3. Proposed Evaluation Minimum Data Set aligned with the Ontario Core Elements.


To access the Report and Toolkit, click HERE.  For more information please contact your Regional Director or District Stroke Coordinator.

On November 27, 2018, St. John’s Rehab inpatient stroke rehab team and Humber River Hospital acute stroke team participated in a Stroke Care Observership (SCO) at Humber River Hospital.

The aim of this SCO was to further build relationships and collaborative partnerships between the two teams to support stroke patient flow, transitions, and communication between both teams.  Both teams found the SCO experience very valuable, and plan to continue to keep open communications to further support patient flow and seamless transitions.

On behalf of the Toronto Stroke Networks, we thank all staff who participated in this event, with special thanks to the organizers of this event:  Kyle Davies, Alin Khodaverdian, Mila Bishev and Gina Lam.

On November 22, 2018, the North & East GTA and Toronto West Stroke Networks’ Regional Teams hosted a State of the Union event  to celebrate success of our organizations working in stroke care and to launch the new Toronto Stroke Networks Standards of Care resource.  We had a full house, with ninety-five participants, including persons with stroke, caregivers, clinicians, managers, senior leads, physicians, LHIN leads and other system stakeholders from across the continuum of care.  The event was well received with positive feedback from participants.

Below are some photos that were taken from this event.


The 11th World Stroke Congress took place in Montreal on Oct 17-20th, 2018.  This international event was organized by the World Stroke Organization and the Canadian Stroke Consortium, with topics ranging from epidemiology, prevention, acute care and stroke recovery.  Close to 2500 health care professionals, community service providers, administrators, educators, researchers, and policy makers attended this event.  Of these, there was great representation from our regional stroke teams and partner organizations within the Toronto Stroke Networks (TSNs).   To celebrate success of our acute, rehab and community partners, below are some photos to illustrate those who have presented or participated in this year’s World Stroke Congress.  For access to e-posters that were presented at this event, please click HERE.



On September 20, 2018, interprofessional representation from Sunnybrook’s C4 Acute Stroke Unit and North York General Hospitals’ Neuro Unit participated in a Stroke Care Observership (SCO) at North York General Hospital.


During the SCO, these 2 teams discussed ways to improve the care and transition experience for patients transferred from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center to North York General Hospital.  From this discussion, some key learnings included increased awareness of:

  • the types of information that are needed to support transitions and early assessment/management of the patient at the next care environment;
  • the need to leverage existing resources such as Essential Professional Conversations (warm clinical handovers) to support healthcare provider communication and patient transitions;
  • what to expect at the next care environment; and
  • the importance of ongoing communication and collaboration between the 2 acute care teams

Overall, participants valued the SCO experience as it provided a deeper understanding of each other’s care environments. Both teams have expressed a strong interest to continue the conversation and collaboration with each other.

As SCOs in the past involved one care team visiting another care team from a different sector (e.g., acute care visiting inpatient rehab), this marked the first time when 2 acute care teams planned and participated in a SCO to support transition experiences for repatriated patients and their families.  As learnings from this SCO will also inform system planning, the Toronto Stroke Networks thanks the Sunnybrook C4 Acute Stroke Unit and North York General Hospitals’ Neuro Unit for their time and support in planning and participating in this SCO.


In celebration of June is Stroke Month, we would like to recognize some of the activities that have taken place in Toronto:


On May 4th, 2018, Toronto Western Hospital’s Neurovascular team participated in the Big Bike for Heart & Stroke at Toronto General Hospital. The bike was full with the 29 riders who raised $4855.00 dollars this year!

On June 20th, Toronto Western Hospital’s stroke prevention clinic staff held an information booth and blood pressure clinic for the general public in the hospital’s Atrium.


On June 19th, 20 staff from the Sunnybrook Stroke Team participated in the Heart & Stroke Big Bike event.  Sunnybrook’s Regional Stroke Team also increased awareness of the Heart & Stroke FAST campaign while offering free ice-cream to staff, patients and families on June 13th.


Members of the NYGH Neuro Stroke Unit rode the Big Bike for Heart & Stroke on June 20th raising $4213. 



During the month of June, the Providence Healthcare team celebrated their team’s successes, viewed the new Heart & Stroke public service announcement that featured women and stroke, and examined the evidence supporting psychosocial care and the adoption of hopeful care in stroke recovery.



On June 26th, 2018, the St. John’s Rehab in-patient stroke team hosted a 3rd stroke care observership with Kitchener’s Grand River Hospital who plans to implement a similar interprofessional sub-team model within their hospital.  The stroke team at  St. John’s Rehab was proud that they were able to inspire, influence and support another hospital in striving towards excellence in stroke care.



To celebrate June is Stroke Month, Dr. Aditya Bharatha, Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiology Division Head at St. Michael’s Hospital presented on Endovascular Management of Acute Ischemic Stroke.


If you would like your team or organization’s Stroke Month activities featured on our TSNs website or Virtual Community of Practice, please email us at moc.ekortsotnull@ofni.



Find out more through this animated TED-Ed video by Vaibhav Goswami:

The above TED-Ed lesson, entitled: “What happens during a stroke?” by Vaibhav Goswami, was reproduced with permission from the TED-Ed Media Requests Team. For more TED-Ed, visit

With attention on COVID-19, recent news reports show fewer stroke patients are being admitted to hospitals around the world.  This could be due to fear of getting the COVID-19 virus.  There is also false belief that hospitals are too busy to care for those with a stroke.  As this is not the case, if you or your family member have any stroke symptoms, the hospital is the best place to go.

Anyone with stroke symptoms should call 9-1-1 right away. Stroke is a medical emergency. Do not drive to the hospital. An ambulance will get you to the best hospital for stroke care.


For more information about the warning signs of stroke, please go to the Heart & Stroke website.

To download a copy of the Heart & Stroke FAST poster, click here.





To download the Aphasia Institute poster, click here.













CorHealth Ontario proudly advises the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Local Health Integration Networks, hospitals, and care providers to improve the quality, efficiency, accessibility and equity of cardiac, stroke and vascular services for patients across Ontario. Together with the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and representatives from the regional stroke networks, CorHealth Ontario has collaboratively worked on the 2018 Complex Continuing Care (CCC) and Long-Term Care (LTC) Stroke Evaluation Report to inform system planning, facilitate and advocate for system change, and identify opportunities for quality initiatives and research. Previous evaluation reports have been prepared by our legacy organization, the Ontario Stroke Network.

For a copy of the 2018 CCC an LTC Stroke Evaluation Report, click HERE.  Please distribute the Report to your teams/colleagues as appropriate.

If you have any questions, email CorHealth Ontario at ac.oiratnohtlaehrocnull@ecivres.

Building Capacity in Psychosocial and Hopeful Care initiative is an education and knowledge translation program geared towards addressing the psychosocial care needs of persons with stroke, in response to a gap identified by healthcare providers, persons with stroke and families/ caregivers.  The program was in the early stages of implementation with 3 acute care and 3 rehabilitation stroke teams but was put on hold due to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.   In the meantime, two University of Toronto Occupational Therapy Masters’ students conducted a study to understand healthcare providers’ perspectives on pandemic-related changes to patient experiences that impact the need for this program.  Several themes emerged from the eight focus groups conducted, as well as recommendations for implementation once restrictions from the pandemic ease on the healthcare system.  We look forward to working with organizations who began the implementation process pre-pandemic and welcome other organizations within the Toronto Stroke Networks who want to learn how they can implement the program within their setting to contact us.


Engaging the Patient and Enhancing their Experience

The Toronto Stroke Networks (TSNs) continue to work towards supporting a system that enhances the patient experience and integrates the patient’s voice throughout their recovery journey.

The TSNs are working together with acute care and rehabilitation organizations to integrate the interprofessional use of the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM©). This tool captures the patient’s voice as they identify goals that are important to them and would like to focus on during their recovery. It also allows the patient to report on their improvement and rate their satisfaction with their performance.

In addition to capturing the patient’s voice, the TSNs are also facilitating education initiatives to support healthcare teams in empowering the patient to be an active member of their care team. Interprofessional stroke teams will have the opportunity to be trained in the Cognitive Orientation to daily Occupational Performance (CO-OP) ApproachTM. This approach supports the active participation of the patient to identify strategies to address their goals.  Problem solving skills that the patient develops with healthcare team members can continue to be utilized in their daily life even after they have left rehabilitation.

The patient is a key player in their recovery journey. The TSNs will continue to work with patient partners and interprofessional stroke teams throughout the regions to build a system that will support the best care and experiences for the patient. As we celebrate June is Stroke Awareness Month, we recognize that this has been an extraordinary year and we want to extend our heartfelt gratitude to our patients, their families and caregivers and all our stakeholders for sharing your stories and experiences as we join you in your journey.



“You are never too young or too old to ignore the warning signs of stroke.  My hand was goofy, it wouldn’t work for me and my speech was a little off.  I saw those F.A.S.T. advertisements but thought I couldn’t be having a stroke as I was too young. Now I know – if you have even one of those signs – you need to get it looked after, IMMEDIATELY.” 

 Toronto Stroke Networks Patient Advisor


Anyone with stroke symptoms should call 9-1-1 right away. Stroke is a medical emergency. Do not drive to the hospital. An ambulance will get you to the best hospital for stroke care.

For more information about the warning signs of stroke, please go to the Heart & Stroke website.

To download a copy of the Heart & Stroke FAST poster, click HERE.







To download this Aphasia Institute poster and others, please click HERE.







The Orientation to Stroke Care in Toronto resource has been created for all new staff working in stroke care.

Objectives of this resource are to:

  • Enhance knowledge of the stroke system of care in Toronto.
  • Increase understanding of the Toronto Stroke Networks’ (TSNs’) function and initiatives in supporting best practice stroke care.
  • Raise awareness of educational opportunities and resources to support clinical practice.

The orientation resource is located within the Toronto Stroke Networks’ Virtual Community of Practice (TSNs VCoP).  If you are a TSNs VCoP member, click here to access this resource.  If you are not yet a member, please go to


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