Southeastern Ontario leading the way in stroke care

News / Internal Medicine Care / Stroke and Neurological Care
By John Pereira

Region shows greatest improvement in survival rates for stroke patients

A new provincial report is showing that patients and families from across Southeastern Ontario are benefiting from improved access to stroke care. In fact, according to the new data released by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and the Ontario Stroke Network (OSN), our region showed the biggest improvement in this year’s report in survival rate for patients following an acute stroke. 

The Regional Stroke Network of Southeastern Ontario - which is hosted by Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) - was able to reduce the mortality rates for patients, measured 30 days after their stroke, from 14.2 per cent to 11.6 per cent.

“While a 2.6 per cent drop doesn’t sound like much at first glance, when you consider we see more than one thousand stroke patients per year, it means that about 25 to 30 more people are surviving strokes in our region each year,” says Cally Martin, Regional Director, Stroke Network of Southeastern Ontario. “This is the biggest improvement seen in any of the 14 Local Health Integration Networks (LHIN) across the province.”

The report showed that progress is being made in other indicators for our region as well. The Southeast now ranks second across the province in the proportion of stroke patients who receive their treatment on a specialized acute stroke unit.  

“The rural nature of our region has often played a role in how patients access specialized stroke care,” says Dr. Albert Jin, a neurologist at KHSC and Medical Director of the Regional Stroke Network. “By creating specialized stroke units in Belleville, Brockville and Kingston we have been able to ensure that patients across the region can quickly access teams of stroke experts. This has played a significant role in improving mortality rates.”

In addition, it’s expected that the integration of acute stroke care for residents of Perth, Smiths Falls and Brockville to one site at Brockville General Hospital will result in even better results in next year’s report.

“Most recently, the two hospitals in Perth and Smiths Falls and Brockville, worked collectively to implement a solution that provides the best patient experience possible for both communities and significantly improves outcomes for patients suffering a stroke,” says Paul Huras, CEO of the South East LHIN. “This is just one example of how patients are receiving more integrated care.”

The report also showed that hospital readmission rates for stroke survivors in the region have been steadily declining. The South East region now ranks third in Ontario in this indicator. Further, the region was one of two top performers on the delivery of home-based rehabilitation visits.

“This means that people are returning home safely after a stroke and are able to stay in their homes longer,” says Martin. “We are always looking for ways to improve care for our patients and we are pleased to see the positive results of good teamwork.”

For more information about the Regional Stroke Network of Southeastern Ontario visit