© Eric Sparling - Amherst Daily News
Meaghan O’Handley (left) and Susan Boiduk spoke Friday in Amherst about the enhanced stroke unit facility that opened this fall at Truro’s new hospital.
AMHERST – It’s a step forward in the way we treat stroke victims, according to health authority personnel in Cumberland and Colchester counties.
An enhanced stroke unit to provide care in the immediate aftermath of a stroke event has existed in Truro for a few years but, with the opening of the Colchester East Hants Health Centre this past fall, the unit now has a dedicated facility.
The enhanced stroke unit approach to care is having an impact, according to the person who coordinates the Truro facility, which is also used by the Cumberland Health Authority.
“Less people are dying and more people are returning home with fewer deficits, this is a huge change to our health care system and it’s worth fighting for,” said Meaghan O’Handley.
Staff are making a push to get the word out about the unit. Educating personnel is a priority.
The unit isn’t large but it’s meeting current needs, according to O’Handley.
“Seven beds is doing it.”
The private rooms have been purpose-built for people who’ve had strokes.
An acute in-patient team meets with new patients at the unit, where stroke victims typically stay a week to 10 days. Consults will be conducted by a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist, a speech and language pathologist, a dietician, a stroke physician, a social worker and a pharmacist. The unit has its own nursing staff.
“…We aim to provide our patients in the stroke unit with multidisciplinary care. Research shows that patients who receive such care are more likely to be alive, independent and living alone after one year,” said Dr. Kris Srivatsa, lead physician for the program, according to a written statement.
O’Handley said diagnosis of stroke has improved over the past decade. Treatment is accessed more quickly, and there’s a better understanding of the treatment stroke victims need.
All Saints Hospital in Springhill has a restorative care unit for stroke victims, but it serves patients deemed medically stable.