Major improvements have been made when it comes to diagnosing strokes in Southwestern Ontario, but there has also been an increase in mortality.

A new stroke "report card" issued Monday by the Ontario Stroke Network shows what London and area stroke services are falling short.

  • The inpatient admission rate at 1.4 per 1,000 population is above provincial benchmark (1.1)
  • The 30-day mortality rate for 2012/2013 rose from 15 to 15.3
  • Work is needed to improve access to stroke prevention clinics

“I think all (local health integration networks) are facing some challenges. None of us are perfect in terms of the indicators that were reviewed within the report. It does provide…an opportunity for us to look at areas where we need to focus more attention,” says Micheal Barrett, the CEO of the South West Local Health Integration Network.

The stroke report card compares the level of access and treatment of people who have a stroke across the province. Each local health integration network received its own detailed report card, which shows where gaps are occurring and where progress is being made.

According to the report, the South West Local Health Integration Network is showing improvement in the areas of:

  • Access to CT scans within 24 hours
  • More stroke survivors were able to access inpatient rehabilitation
  • There were shorter wait times for inpatient rehabilitation.

“It starts with public awareness, making sure the public knows where to go if they’re suffering from a stroke or having stroke symptoms. And ensuring the hospitals are well prepared as well, once a patient presents with those symptoms,” Barrett says.

Province wide, the report says there have been improvements in 15 of 19 indicators, including the number of patients who arrived at a hospital emergency department less than three and a half hours after the onset of symptoms.