Text Size:    +   -
Section 1.1

Introduction

The Canadian Stroke Best Practice Recommendations (CSBPR) 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 and informal caregivers). The CSBPR are under the leadership of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Canada (HSF), following the 2013 transition of Canadian stroke best practices and quality activities to the HSF from the Canadian Stroke Network.

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 current knowledge and clinical practice.

Why is better stroke management important?

  • Every year, approximately 60,000 people with stroke and transient ischemic attack are treated in Canadian hospitals. Moreover, it is estimated that for each symptomatic stroke, there are nine “silent” strokes that result in subtle changes in cognitive function and processes.
  • Stroke and other cerebrovascular diseases are the third leading cause of death in Canada.
  • Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability, with some 315,000 Canadians living with the effects of stroke.
  • The annual cost of stroke is approximately $3.6 billion, taking into account both healthcare costs and lost economic output.
  • The human cost of stroke is immeasurable.

The HSF works closely with national and provincial stakeholders and partners to develop and implement a coordinated and integrated approach to stroke prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and community reintegration in every province and territory in Canada. The CSBPR provides a common set of guiding principles for stroke care delivery, and describes the infrastructure necessary at a system level, and the clinical protocols and processes that are needed to achieve and enhance integrated, high-quality, and efficient stroke services for all Canadians.Through the innovations embodied within the stroke best practices, these guidelines contribute to health system reform in Canada and internationally.

The Canadian Stroke Best Practice Recommendations are developed and presented within a continuous improvement model and are written for health system planners, funders, administrators, and healthcare professionals, all of whom have important roles in the optimization of stroke prevention and care and who are accountable for results. A strong stroke research literature base is drawn upon to guide the optimization of stroke prevention and care delivery. Several implementation tools are provided to facilitate uptake into practice, and are used in combination with active professional development programs. By monitoring performance, the impact of adherence to best practices is assessed and results then used to direct ongoing improvement. Recent stroke quality monitoring activities have compelling results which continue to support the value of adopting evidence-based best practices in organizing and delivering stroke care in Canada.