ACute Care

New Virtual Learning Classroom Module : Management of the Upper Extremity Following Stroke

Acute Care

Acute care is where the person is stabilized, diagnosis confirmed, plans are implemented to prevent complications, and when initial rehabilitation and recovery begin.

Acute Care

Acute Stroke Care refers to the key interventions involved in the assessment, treatment or management, and early recovery in the first days after stroke onset.

The primary aims of the acute phase of care are to identify the nature and mechanism of stroke, prevent further complications, promote early recovery and in the case of the severest strokes provide end-of-life care. Secondary prevention plans and engagement with patients and family to transition to the next level of care is undertaken.

Working Together with Stroke Survivors and their Caregivers to Achieve Optimal Outcomes is imperative across stroke systems of care, with the participation of individuals with stroke, their families and caregivers, healthcare providers, and the broader community. The primary underpinnings of ‘acute inpatient stroke care’ are to optimize recovery and patient outcomes (Canadian Best Practice Recommendations, October 2015)


Acute Inpatient Stroke Care

Achieving optimal outcomes for stroke survivors requires patients to be cared for on dedicated inpatient stroke units by healthcare team members with specialized stroke training, and establishment of evidence-based stroke protocols for all aspects of stroke care, including team meetings with case reviews, and early access to rehabilitation assessments and therapies. Hospitals that manage stroke patients and currently do not have dedicated stroke units should strive to implement all the core elements of stroke unit care, regardless of whether there is a designated stroke unit, and at least cluster stroke patients within a consistent area of a hospital ward and provide staff with education and skills training specific to stroke care. In hospitals where this goal is not possible within, acute stroke patients should be transferred to the nearest hospital that does provide acute stroke unit care. (Canadian Best Practice Recommendations, October 2015)


Clinical Resources


Tools to help primary-care providers with assessment, intervention, and communication with acute stroke patients.

AFIM: AFIM Info Poster

AFIM: FAQ's for Clinicians

Depression screening: Assess Mood Depression

Understanding Alberta Stroke Program Early CT Score: (ASPECTS)

  • 10 point qualitative score for the detection and assessment of early ischemic changes on non-contrast head CT to determine patient eligibility for receiving interventional mechanical thrombectomy treatment

Stroke Best Practice Pocket Assessment Guide: Assessment Guide

  • Common signs and symptoms, types of stroke, Canadian Neurological Scale, NIH Stroke Scale, FAST signs

NIH Stroke Scale: Stroke Scale PDF

  • Clinical stroke assessment tool to evaluate and document neurological status in acute stroke patients

Intro to Supportive Conversation for Adults with Aphasia: Self-Directed Learning Module

Stroke Engine Acute Stroke Assessment: Assessment Review and Guide

Stroke Engine Acute Stroke Interventions: Intervention Review and Guide

CorHealth Ontario: Resources for Acute Stroke Care Providers



Acute Care Best Practice Update: Acute Stroke Management Best Practice   

  • 2018 update to guidance to healthcare providers caring for people with current or recent symptoms of acute stroke or TIA

PDF link to full Acute Stroke Management Update 2018: Acute Stroke Management update PDF

Acute Stroke Management Evidence Tables: Evidence Tables PDF


Stroke Best Practice Website: Stroke Best Practices

Secondary Prevention of Stroke Best Practice: Revised Canadian Stroke Best Practice Recommendations for the Secondary Prevention of Stroke




Links to websites with analyses of stroke care:

Graded Repetitive Arm Supplementary Program (GRASP): GRASP Research Evidence

Quality-Based Procedures Clinical Handbook for Stroke: Clinical Handbook PDF

Review of Stroke Rehabilitation: Evidence-based Review of Stroke Rehabilitation

  • “Comprehensive and up-to-date review of research regarding therapy-based and pharmacological interventions associated with stroke rehabilitation”

Acute Operational Committee

This area is utilize by the Acute Operational Committee members to communicate and share resources. If you are an operational committee member, please click on the button below.


Regional Stroke Education and Acute Coordinator

Megan Sousa


Phone Number: (905) 848-7580 Ext: 5006


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