Acute Stroke Unit Moves Forward With Posting of Tenders

New 28-Bed Unit at HSC Winnipeg Will Save Lives, Reduce Chances of Disability: Friesen

A new dedicated acute stroke unit at Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre (HSC) is moving forward this week with the posting of tenders for construction, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen announced today.

“The establishment of a new, centralized acute stroke unit in our province will enhance care for patients by reducing the likelihood of death or disability, preventing complications and reducing their length of stay in hospital,” said Friesen. “We were the only province in Canada without a dedicated stroke unit, and this investment will dramatically improve care and outcomes for the approximately 2,000 Manitobans who suffer a stroke each year.”

Construction tenders will be posted this week for the 28-bed unit, to be located in the former Women’s Pavilion at HSC Winnipeg. Renovations to the fourth and fifth floors of the building will develop 18,400 square feet for the unit. Building upgrades will include heating, ventilation, lighting, asbestos removal, an upgraded nurse call system, new sprinklers and new elevators.

Acute stroke care includes three categories of therapy including clot busting, clot removal and early intensive rehabilitation therapy. Clot busting is available in a number of hospitals throughout Manitoba, while clot removal is performed in specialized radiology suites at HSC Winnipeg.

Establishing an acute stroke unit will allow patients in Manitoba to receive early intensive rehabilitation therapy, said Dr. Perry Gray, provincial lead, medical specialist services and chief medical officer for Shared Health.

“Having an acute stroke unit in our province will allow stroke patients in Manitoba to receive the full range of therapies that are required to maximize their recovery,” said Gray. “This unit will enhance the quality of care stroke patients receive by preventing complications and recurrence, improving outcomes and speeding up recovery time.”

When it opens, the acute stroke unit will be staffed by a trained team of inter-professional staff that includes stroke neurologists, psychiatrists and rehabilitation specialists. The unit will also benefit from its proximity to the development of new interventional angiography facilities and new equipment for HSC Winnipeg’s Diagnostic Centre of Excellence.

“We’re so pleased to see the government of Manitoba’s continued commitment to the delivery of excellent stroke care for people in our province,” said Christine Houde, Manitoba director of government relations and health promotion, Heart and Stroke. “The new acute stroke unit will bring together a comprehensive team of stroke experts with the equipment they need to deliver first-class treatment and rehabilitation, leading to longer, more fulfilling lives for Manitobans who suffer a stroke, and their loved ones.”

Today’s announcement is in addition to other stroke care investments including more than $487,000 toward operating and capital costs for the implementation of Telestroke. The Telestroke program operates in regional hospitals throughout Manitoba, allowing stroke neurologists and radiologists to consult with emergency physicians through videoconferencing and shared CT images. These specialists can determine if a stroke has occurred, the type of stroke and appropriate treatment options.

The acute stroke unit is expected to open in late 2021 or early 2022, said Friesen. The cost of the project will be subject to the tendering process.

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