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Virtual tour of Niagara District Stroke Program

Posted Oct 27th, 2011

The Niagara Health System District Stroke Program will be holding a community education session on stroke care and launching a new video to raise awareness of the services provided in Niagara to mark World Stroke Day, Saturday, October 29, 2011.

A public open house will take place at the St. Catharines Public Library, Central Branch, Mills Room, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (map)

Members of the District Stroke Team will review stroke services for Niagara residents, the signs and symptoms of stroke and the importance of calling 911 for assistance.

The virtual tour follows stroke patients through several services at the District Stroke Centre, which is the regional centre for stroke care and is located at the Greater Niagara General Site. The virtual tour of the Emergency Department, the 10-bed Acute Stroke Unit and the Stroke Prevention Clinic will help Niagara residents become familiar with the services available and what to do if they experience signs and symptoms of stroke.

Members of the media are invited to attend Saturday’s event. On-site tours of the stroke centre and interviews with providers and patients can also be arranged at another time.


Stroke symptoms usually appear suddenly and include loss of strength or numbness in the face, arm or leg, difficulty speaking, vision problems, severe and unusual headache and loss of balance. If you or someone you are with experiences any of these symptoms call 911 immediately. This call will activate the Stroke Alert process from the field and you will be transferred following assessment by Niagara Emergency Medical Services, based on provincial stroke criteria, to the most appropriate hospital.
Dr. Don Chew, Neurologist and Medical Director of the NHS District Stroke Centre


In Ontario, stroke is the third leading cause of death and disability.

The Niagara Health System admitted approximately 700 patients with strokes and transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) last year.

Awareness of stroke signs and symptoms and how to take action are key to stroke survival and recovery. Currently only 54 per cent of patients call 911 when they experience symptoms.


Members of the NHS stroke team presented at a national conference Oct. 3 on a patient care initiative that has dramatically reduced the time it takes for patients in Niagara who may be experiencing a stroke to receive a clot-busting drug that could save their lives.

The benchmark door-to-needle time in Ontario – the time patients enter the hospital to the time they receive the thrombolytic drug t-PA (tissue plasminogen activator) – is 60 minutes.

The average time in Niagara last year was 38 minutes, which is significantly less than other stroke centres in Ontario, due in large part to the increased leadership of NHS Emergency Department nurses who are specially trained in stroke care.


October 29, 2011, has been designated as World Stroke Day by the World Stroke Organization. Around the globe, the importance of recognizing the signs and symptoms of stroke and calling 911 immediately is being promoted.

Niagara Health System