A new service being offered by Health P.E.I. will provide enhanced access to specialized stroke consultation services to patients in rural areas.
© Guardian photo by Heather Taweel
Prince Edward Island Health Minister Doug Currie
“This new service means some Islanders in rural communities won’t need to travel as far to receive stroke services, giving them better access to the care they need closer to home,” said Health Minister Doug Currie. “Our government recognizes the huge physical and emotional impact stroke has on Island families and will continue to work to ensure patients have access to programs that address the stroke care needs of Islanders in our province.”
The new ‘telestroke’ service is currently being piloted between the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) and Prince County Hospital (PCH).
Within the piloting phase, some stroke survivors in the East Prince region requiring specialized stroke consultations, such as rehabilitation consults or follow-ups, will no longer need to drive to the QEH for their appointment. Rather, an appointment will be scheduled for them at PCH where, via videoconferencing, the team of stroke specialists located at QEH will be able to carry out the consultation virtually with the stroke survivor.
A member of the stroke survivor’s local stroke care team will also participate in the telestroke consult and will be in the room with the patient at PCH.
“A comprehensive organized stroke care program that includes telestroke services is important to ensuring we provide the most accessible, timely and effective stroke care to all stroke survivors on Prince Edward Island across all areas of our stroke care program,” said Dr. Ed Harrison, Director of Physical Medicine, Rehabilitation and the provincial Ambulatory Stroke Rehabilitation Clinic. “We are excited to be integrating telestroke services within our current clinical practices and we see this new service as a way to providing enhanced collaboration among our health care providers and stroke specialists.
“Our staff will benefit from this new service, but more importantly our patients will benefit by being able to access on-going specialized stroke care closer to home.”
In June 2013, Health P.E.I. received funding from the Canadian Stroke Network to assist with establishing a telestroke service for Prince Edward Island. Funds from the Canadian Stroke Network supported the purchase of dedicated equipment and infrastructure upgrades required to operate the telestroke videoconferencing service.