Echo Supports Innovation to Improve Cardiac and Stroke Rehab for Ontario Women

TORONTO, October 20, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - Toronto Rehab and the London Health Sciences Centre are receiving $66,000 in funding to examine best practices in cardiac and stroke rehabilitation in Ontario women. In partnership with Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, Cardiac Care Network and Ontario Stroke System, the project is funded by Echo: Improving Women's Health in Ontario, an agency of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

"Women tend to underutilize rehabilitation services and are less likely to get a referral," says Pat Campbell, Chief Executive Officer, Echo. "We need to close these gaps in care to support women to regain maximum health and support functional independence. This project will help inform future work in cardiac and stroke rehabilitation in Ontario."

"The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario (HSFO) welcomes this initiative and applauds Echo for its leadership," says Mary Lewis, Director of Government Relations and Partner Programs, HSFO. "The Foundation is pleased to partner in this worthwhile study to deliver timely research to close the gender gap and enhance stroke and cardiac rehabilitation for women in Ontario."

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a leading cause of death and disability among Canadian women. Despite the fact that there are Canadian guidelines on Cardiac and Stroke rehabilitation, most research demonstrates low enrolment in rehabilitation. In particular, researchers have also found that women tend to underutilize rehabilitation services.

Lead investigator, Dr. Tracey Colella and Dr. Judith Francis, with their teams at Toronto Rehab and London Health Sciences Centre will:

...Highlight differences between what is recommended for women and men with respect to cardiac rehabilitation (CR) and stroke rehabilitation (SR);

...Examine the potential benefits and opportunities for the integration of CR and SR activities for women;

...Assess the current gaps by examining differences between best practises and current practises;

...and Identify barriers to implementation and sustainability of best practice of CR/SR for women and identify solutions to close these gaps.

The project team is made up of key opinion leaders, researchers, clinicians, best practise guideline developers and care providers.

Set to commence this fall the project will wrap up in summer 2011.

"The benefits of cardiac and stroke rehabilitation are well established," says Kori Kingsbury, Chief Executive Officer, Cardiac Care Network of Ontario. "This research will help us better understand the opportunities to create programs that will help to address the unique needs of women and close the participation gap in rehabilitation services."

"The Ontario Stroke Network is pleased to partner with Echo on this important research," says Christina O'Callaghan, Executive Director, Ontario Stroke Network. The research will provide new knowledge that will assist health care decision makers in addressing the current gaps and barriers to women accessing cardiac and stroke rehabilitation services."

"We are very excited to be a part of this important initiative that will provide us with the knowledge and evidence for optimizing cardiac and stroke rehab care for women in Ontario," says Dr. Tracey Colella, Advanced Practice Leader, Cardiac and Secondary Prevention Program, Toronto Rehab.


...21% and 23% of men and women, respectively, are projected to die within a year of their stroke;

...Without rehabilitation services, 18% of men and 23% of women may die within one year following their heart attack;

...Approximately 50% of survivors (men and women) experience paralysis, 30% cannot walk unassisted, 26% cannot complete activities of daily living on their own;


The POWER Study - Cardiovascular Disease chapter

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario. 2007. Consensus Panel on the Stroke Rehabilitation System "Time is Function."

Statistics Canada. 2004..
Mortality, summary list of causes.