Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in Canada, costing our economy $3.6 billion per year. More than 405,000 people are currently living with the effects of stroke. This number is expected to rise to 720,000 by 2038.
We all know that a stroke is an emergency health issue requiring immediate medical attention. Fewer people, however, know that strokes also have long-term health effects that patients live with on a daily basis, including muscle weakness and balance and coordination issues. Unlike other diseases with long-term health effects, such as heart failure and diabetes, there has been little research to improve the health services provided to stroke patients after they return home from the hospital. As a result, it is common for these people to have another stroke, have many hospital visits, and report other health issues. More research is needed to improve the access to and delivery of health services to stroke patients to better manage their health over time.
The purpose of this five-year research project is to improve long-term care for stroke patients. Dr. Sakakibara will work with stroke patients to ensure the research focuses on what is important to them, and then evaluate new programs (delivered using mobile technologies and the internet) to help patients plan their return home from hospital; improve lifestyle behaviours to prevent other health issues; and better manage their health and well-being for long-term health benefits.