As one of Sunnybrook’s Code Stroke Nurses, Anna Liu supports patients when they arrive at the hospital. Sunnybrook is one of nine regional stroke centres in Ontario.
“When a Code Stroke is activated, I liaise with paramedics in real time as they are enroute to hospital with the patient,” says Anna. “I also work with our stroke team and emergency department to prepare for patient arrival and next steps.”
A stroke occurs when blood suddenly stops flowing to the brain. The longer a stroke is left untreated, the greater chance of injury to the brain. When a patient is treated quickly, with medication, surgery, or both, there is a greater chance of recovery.
“When it comes to stroke, time is of the essence,” she says. “If you suspect that you or a loved one are having a stroke, don’t wait. Seek medical attention and get help.”
Code Stroke Nurses are part of a stroke patient’s care pathway. Anna sees first-hand how stroke can be life-changing for patients.
“Some are frustrated and frightened because they can’t speak their mind or can’t move one side of their body because of a stroke. Sometimes a patient is unresponsive and requires life-saving measures,” explains Anna. “When I see patients 24 hours after receiving treatment, some are speaking and smiling again, or participating in physiotherapy. Occasionally one of them will remember me from the chaos and point me out to their family to say, ‘She was there helping me when I couldn’t walk or talk or move,’ and it makes me happy to no end to see their progress. It is extremely rewarding to see when patients recover from stroke.
Code Stroke Nurses work with multiple systems and departments on a daily basis.
“I have an extraordinary appreciation for how many systems are constantly at work to deliver quality care,” adds Anna. “The stroke team at Sunnybrook is an exceptional group of individuals who truly and sincerely provide patient care to the best of their abilities.”
June is #StrokeAwarenessMonth. To recognize the signs of stroke, think FAST – F: Is the Face drooping? A: Can you raise both Arms? S: Is the Speech slurred or jumbled? T: Time to call 9-1-1.
Learn more: sunnybrook.ca/strokecare