June 15, 2015 

A Couple’s Journey through the Stroke Rehab Pathway

The moment Wayne Drew woke up on the morning of March 2nd, he knew something was wrong. “I had a massive headache, like I’ve never experienced before,” he recalls.  

His wife Shelley took him to the hospital where doctors confirmed that he had experienced a brain hemorrhage. The scans also revealed that he had two aneurysms (weak points in the blood vessels of the brain). Even though they weren’t sure what had caused the hemorrhage, Wayne and Shelley decided to proceed with clipping the aneurysms in order to prevent future problems.  

Due to the trauma of the surgery and perhaps the brain hemorrhage, Wayne suffered two strokes that paralyzed the left side of his body. 

After his initial recovery in hospital, he was transferred from Grand River Hospital to St. Joseph’s Rehabilitation Centre. Wayne was placed into a new region-wide program called the Stroke Rehab Pathway. The initiative seeks to encompass every step of the patient’s experience, from care in hospital to rehabilitation and home care. When Wayne first arrived, he required a lift to transfer him from his bed to a wheelchair. After weeks of intensive physiotherapy, Wayne was back on his feet and ready to go home. 

“The Stroke Rehab Pathway supported Wayne and his family with his discharge home from St Joe’s and gave them access to the multi-disciplinary stroke rehab team, which helped Wayne meet his goals and begin his integration back home and into the community,” explains Margot McKenzie, their care coordinator at the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC). 

Once Wayne returned home, Margot set up appointments for an occupational therapist to come to their home, arranged for visits with a speech and language pathologist, and assigned a social worker to help Wayne and Shelley deal with any behavioural changes.  

“A stroke is a very life changing event,” says Margot. “Wayne and his family was very excited that he was home, but they were also feeling overwhelmed. They really appreciated the help that they received, and made full use of the Stroke Rehab Pathway.”

“I’m so proud to live in a country that has programs like the CCAC,” Wayne notes. “I’ve been the beneficiary of so much support, and I don’t know where we’d be without it.” 

In 2013, the Waterloo Wellington LHIN Board of Directors approved the integration of stroke services throughout Waterloo Wellington. The creation of the Waterloo Wellington Stroke program has improved access to stroke unit care and specialized rehab services for over 1000 stroke patients this year. The system ensures patients receive the same quality of care no matter where they receive care and also helps patients move across the system as seamlessly as possible. Jennifer Breaton, Program Director for the Integrated Stroke Program says, “in our region we now provide the best care for our patients, and we are so proud of our improved performance.”  

For more information on the Waterloo Wellington Stroke Program contact: 

Grand River Hospital Stroke Program
Jennifer Breaton
Grand River Hospital
519 749 4300
www.grhosp.on.ca/strokecentre