‘Passport’ to a better tomorrow
July 19, 2012
Stroke program bundles resources to improve patient rehab
Story and Photo by Colin Zak
After having a minor stroke, Clark Jensen knew it was time for a change.
But he didn’t know where to start.
“My wife and I needed help understanding what had happened and how to prevent it from happening again,” says Jensen, who had a stroke in May. “There were a lot of unanswered questions.”
That was until he received the Stroke Passport, a binder that’s now given to all stroke patients at Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary. The ‘passport’ contains all the information stroke patients need to know, from staying in hospital, to rehabilitation, to returning to normal life.
“I refer to it almost daily, especially for the diet and lifestyle information,” says Jensen, 51. “I even used it when I gave a presentation about strokes at my church.”
Developed and funded by Alberta Health Services (AHS) in partnership with the Alberta Provincial Stroke Strategy (APSS), the Stroke Passport gives stroke patients vital information about every step in their journey through the health system. This includes information on how to access hospital services such as wireless internet, as well as general information about strokes – the risk factors, healthy living tips and how to move on with life after a stroke.
So far, nearly 200 stroke patients in Calgary have received the passport.
“Over the years, we’ve received a lot of common questions from stroke patients. Now we have put all that information in one place, in a format which patients can take around with them. This helps ensure all patients are receiving the same information,” says Andrea Cole-Haskayne, a nurse clinician with the Calgary Stroke Program.
“Patients often get home from hospital and ask: ‘What’s next?’ This binder is a great place to start.”
The passport also contains information about community resources to help stroke survivors get back to their normal routine, including learning to drive again, starting an exercise routine, as well as contact numbers for community support groups and rehabilitation.
In a patient survey, more than eight out of 10 passport recipients agreed that the Stroke Passport was useful, easy to understand and would recommend it to a family member or friend.
Currently, the Stroke Passport is being given to all stroke patients at Foothills – approximately 75 per cent of stroke patients in the Calgary area. Eventually it will be available for stroke patients at all hospitals in the city.
“We have been consistently recognized as a national leader when it comes to stroke care,” Cole-Haskayne explains. “This is one more way we’re raising the bar in stroke care in the province, and the country.”
In May, the Calgary Stroke Program was awarded the Stroke Services Distinction Award for the second time, making it one of only two programs in the country to achieve this prestigious level of recognition from Accreditation Canada.
The award recognizes the program’s performance when it comes to acute care, rehabilitation, early supported discharge and outpatient care, above and beyond the accreditation it must go through on a yearly basis.
“Suffering a stroke affects nearly every aspect of a patient’s life; we now have a number of supports available for them at every step in their recovery,” says Lori Beaver, a stroke survivor and strategist with the Calgary Stroke Program, who led the development of the Stroke Passport.
“The Stroke Passport is the kind of thing I wanted when I was in hospital.”