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Canadian Centers Awarded Stroke Distinction

  • Published: 2010-06-08 : Author: HEART AND STROKE FOUNDATION OF CANADA
  • Synopsis: The Canadian Stroke Network is a national research network headquartered at the University of Ottawa.

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Two Canadian centers awarded Stroke Distinction - Calgary Stroke Program, Toronto Rehab earn special accreditation.

Two Canadian stroke services - the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and the Calgary Stroke Program - are the first in Canada to earn Stroke Services Distinction from Accreditation Canada. Stroke Services Distinction is awarded to health organizations that meet or exceed the best standards of stroke care. The announcement was made today at the Canadian Stroke Congress.

"This is a significant achievement for these two institutions and an important step in formalizing the implementation of stroke best practice in the Canadian health-care system," said Dr. Antoine Hakim, CEO and Scientific Director of the Canadian Stroke Network.

Stroke Services Distinction is the first disease-specific accreditation program in Canada. It was developed by Accreditation Canada and the Canadian Stroke Network to recognize leadership, clinical excellence, and innovation in stroke care. The highly specialized standards, developed in consultation with stakeholders from across the continuum of care, are based on the Canadian Stroke Strategy's Canadian Best Practice Recommendations for Stroke Care (2008).

As part of the process, health-care centers undergo a rigorous on-site review conducted by experts who have extensive practical experience in the field of stroke. The Distinction program is available to accredited clients of Accreditation Canada.

"Stroke Services Distinction gives health-care centers an opportunity to look at areas of strength and areas where they can improve stroke services," says Dr. Patrice Lindsay, the Canadian Stroke Network's performance and standards specialist. "It makes institutions accountable for the stroke care they provide."

"We are excited and honored to be one of the first stroke rehabilitation programs in Canada to achieve Stroke Services Distinction from Accreditation Canada," says Dr. Mark Bayley, medical director of the Neuro Rehabilitation Program at Toronto Rehab. "We are always striving for excellence and improved outcomes for our stroke patients, and it is so important to have peers from outside the organization assess how we measure up against best practice standards."

Michael Suddes, manager of the Calgary Stroke Program, Alberta Health Services, says, "We are proud to be associated with an accreditation program that focuses on the importance of innovation and the quality of care we provide to people affected by stroke. It has given us a way to look at our stroke services as a whole system. I see this program as a milestone in the ongoing management of stroke care at the provincial and national levels."

Wendy Nicklin, President and CEO of Accreditation Canada, sees Distinction as a catalyst to mobilize the excellent work of the Canadian Stroke Strategy across the country. "This program covers the continuum of care from prevention to rehabilitation. We expect it will contribute to closing the gap between what is known about high-quality stroke care and how it is applied, to the benefit of the over 50,000 Canadians who have a stroke each year and the 300,000 who are living with the effects of this devastating illness."

Accreditation Canada ( is a not-for-profit, independent organization that provides national and international health and social service organizations with an external peer review to assess the quality of their services against standards of excellence. Accredited by the International Society for Quality in Healthcare, Accreditation Canada's programs and guidance have helped thousands of organizations strive for excellence since 1958.

The Canadian Stroke Network is a national research network, headquartered at the University of Ottawa, which brings together university and hospital-based researchers from across Canada. Its aim is to reduce the impact of stroke by promoting excellence in stroke prevention, treatment and recovery.

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