Life after stroke: Greg’s story

Huron Perth Greg works on his recovery with physiotherapist Mark Hopkins

Greg Misener, 58, of Stratford, was driving home from London in December 2015, when he felt something was wrong. He was exhausted, and his face and left arm were tingling. He pulled over to the side of the road for some fresh air, but when he stepped out of his van, he crumbled to the ground. He was having a stroke.

Luckily for Greg, a passerby saw him waving and pulled over to call 9-1-1. Paramedics took him to nearby St. Marys Memorial Hospital before he was transferred to Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance’s Stratford Hospital site so he could recover in their integrated stroke unit.

The unit provides both acute and rehabilitative care to patients in hospital after they have a stroke, making care more seamless. The patient remains in the same bed on the same floor, surrounded by the same health team throughout their recovery journey. In this unit, staff have specialized training in stroke recovery. The interprofessional team consists of physicians, nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech pathologists, social workers, personal support workers, rehab assistants, pharmacists and registered dietitians.

Thesesignsofstroke teams meet three times a week to review patient progress. This means fewer complications, earlier mobilization, and continuity of care as the patient transitions from hospital back into the community.

Greg spent just over 7 weeks in the integrated stroke unit. When he was ready for rehabilitation, he met with his physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists for an hour every day.

“I would rate the level of care as beyond phenomenal,” said Greg, who appreciated the relationships he had with both his care team and the other stroke patients. One of his favourite parts of the stroke unit was dining with other stroke patients each day, saying, “it made me feel like I wasn’t alone.”

Greg is now back at home continuing his recovery with visits from the Community Stroke Rehabilitation Team, and making plans to return to playing tennis this summer.

The unit launched in December 2014. Stratford Hospital is the district stroke centre serving people from Huron and Perth Counties.