KGH vies for Stroke Distinction Award

News / General
By Peter Jeffrey

Anticipation gave way to smiles last week as stroke care team members received preliminary results from Accreditation Canada surveyors about how Kingston General Hospital's stroke care program is performing.

"You've met 89 of 93 criteria in stroke best practice standards care and prevention," said Accreditation Canada surveyor Dr. Patrice Lindsay. "We're very impressed with what we've seen at KGH. You've got a seamless operation and provide phenomenal stroke care. I wouldn't hesitate to be a patient here."

That resounding approval came as welcome news to KGH's stroke team that has spent the last 18 months preparing for the surveyors' rigorous two-day visit. The purpose of the voluntary assessment is to identify any gaps in care by delving deeply into each and every aspect of the hospital's stroke care program. At stake is the prestigious Stroke Services Distinction Award, a recognition that has only been handed out twice before in Canada.

"By assessing our service, we identify opportunities for improvement," says Richard Jewitt, Medicine Program Operational Director. "We can say that we are doing very well but we would like the surveyors to objectively tell us how we're doing. That is the key to us becoming the best we can be."

Still, even with everyone focused on the end goal of continuous improvement, that didn't ease the pressure as the surveyors looked into everything from patient and family education to how closely stroke care protocols are followed.

"The process can certainly be intimidating," says Cally Martin, Regional Director of the Stroke Network. "But it's also very positive. It helps us to determine if we're living up to our role as the regional stroke centre for Southeastern Ontario."

Among the numerous positive observations the surveyors made, one really stood out. "Your strong partnerships and teamwork were a pleasure to see. Your team is one of the best across Canada - truly amazing," said Lindsay, who also serves as the Performance and Standards Specialist for the Canadian Stroke Network. "But more than that, we have to commend you on partnering with a Patient Experience Advisor on your planning processes."

Jewitt agrees that teamwork is at the heart of the stroke program's success. "From switchboard, to nurses, to physicians, to allied health, each member of the team is dedicated to doing a phenomenal job - and that showed in our preliminary results," he says.

For Sharen Chapman, Program Manager for Kidd 7, the surveyors" praises were an endorsement of the quality care her team provides. "This process allowed us to show our heartfelt drive for what we do for patients who have suffered a stroke - and their families," she says. "What this is really about is improving patient care."

While KGH did "extremely well" surveyors pointed out a few opportunities for improvement. Their recommendations included: better documentation when education materials are given out to patients and their families; staying on top of documenting mobility assessments and; fully integrating KGH's Falls Prevention Program.

At this point, the surveyors will take their report back to Accreditation Canada who will then decide if KGH's performance warrants a Stroke Services Distinction Award. A final report will be provided by the first week of December.