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Section 1.0

Overview and Methods

5th Edition
2013-2014 UPDATE

The Canadian Stroke Best Practice Recommendations are intended to provide up-to-date evidence-based guidelines for the prevention and management of stroke, and to promote optimal recovery and reintegration for people who have experienced stroke (patients, families, informal caregivers). The goal of disseminating and implementing these recommendations is to reduce practice variations in the care of stroke patients across Canada, and to reduce the gap between knowledge and practice. Recommendations are updated on a rotating cycle every two years to ensure they continue to reflect the most current stroke research evidence and leading expert opinion. Each update involves critical review of the current healthcare literature, which informs decisions regarding modification of the recommendations and the performance measures used to assess their impact. Every attempt is made to coordinate with other Canadian groups who are developing guidelines that relate to stroke, such as hypertension, atrial fibrillation and diabetes. If significant new evidence becomes available in between update cycles, a process is in place to conduct a modified Delphi review to rigorously assess the new evidence and gain consensus on the impact of that evidence on current recommendations.  Modifications that are required through the consensus process will be made as soon as they are available, which is readily enabled through the web-based format of the Canadian stroke best practices.

This is the fifth edition of the Canadian Stroke Best Practice Recommendations, which were first released in 2006.  The theme of the 2012 – 2013 update (fourth edition) was Taking Action, and stressed the critical role and responsibility of healthcare providers at every stage of the continuum of care to ensure that best practice recommendations are implemented and adhered to. Taking Action will lead to optimal outcomes for each person affected by stroke by providing the best care within the most appropriate setting, by healthcare professionals with stroke expertise.

The theme for the 2014 – 2015 update is Working Together with Stroke Survivors and their Caregivers to Achieve Optimal Outcomes. This theme emphasizes the need for a committed interprofessional team approach to stroke care across the continuum, and to ensure consistent patient-centred care delivery. With stroke patients and family members at the core, the entire team must be supported and actively engaged at every stage of care and in every setting. The HSF Canadian Stroke Best Practice Recommendations provide healthcare professionals with the most current evidence and expert guidance on how to engage in patient-centred optimal stroke care for patients and family members. Patients and family caregivers particularly should receive education and be empowered as active participants throughout their journey of recovery to ensure meaningful contributions to goal setting and treatment planning. This theme aligns with and supports the new HSF survivorship mission priority and will be incorporated within each chapter of the Canadian Stroke Best Practice Recommendations as they are updated in 2014 and 2015.