St. Michael’s stroke patients benefitting from My Stroke Passport resource guide

Donna Cheung and Sandy Gill

Donna Cheung, a rehab and community re-engagement co-ordinator for the Toronto Stroke Network, and Sandy Gill, a clinical nurse specialist at St. Michael’s Hospital, discuss My Stroke Passport before giving it to a patient. (Photo by Yuri Markarov)

The Toronto Stroke Network’s My Stroke Passport binder is much larger than a traditional passport, but it provides patients living with stroke a convenient place to document their medical history and experiences. It is intended as a resource to gain the knowledge, skills and confidence needed to take charge of their health as they recover and learn to adapt to their life post-stroke.

My Stroke Passport is divided into sections where patients can record information about themselves such as the language they speak, where they work, the cause of their stroke, how it has affected them and the people they would like informed about their progress. They can also use it to keep track of the medication they are taking and keep printouts of their test results.

“The biggest benefit of the passport is that it contains all the important information in one spot and reduces the need for a patient or his or her caregiver to repeat medical history or recovery goals at each new visit,” said Donna Cheung, a rehab and community re-engagement co-ordinator for the Toronto Stroke Network.

“Patients who actively use their binders have told us they find them extremely informative. Many like the spiral bound booklet at the back titled Life After Stroke: Managing the effects of stroke and getting back into life, because many of these patients had little to no knowledge of what a stroke was and what the recovery process would involve. So this book provides them with that extra support.”

Did you know:
It is estimated that there are 50,000 strokes in Canada each year. That’s one stroke every 10 minutes. (Hakim, Silver, Hodgson, 1998)

The passport is one component of a bigger project known as the Transition Improvement for Continuity of Care initiative led by the Toronto Stroke Network. The initiative was designed to make the transition from acute care to community care as seamless as possible for patients and their caregivers.

St. Michael’s is one of six sites in Toronto to offer the My Stroke Passport. It has been available for two years, but one of the biggest benefits is that it is accessible to patients at multiple points within the health care system. Many people leave the hospital with it when they are discharged, but others have access to it in rehab or outpatient programs, or in the hospital’s stroke prevention clinic.

The patient or his or her caregiver is encouraged to keep the passport up to date, but health care providers are available for support at any step of the way. Patients can use it to:

  • Record information about their health and care
  • Identify their strengths, needs and questions
  • Help them set goals to recover, live well and prevent another stroke
  • Understand and monitor the risks factors related to their stroke
  • Keep track of their progress
  • Communicate with their health care team and caregivers
  • Find resources and support services to meet their needs

“It also enables health care providers to interact with their patients in a more meaningful way and encourages collaboration with other providers from across the system,” said Cheung. “The health care provider can assist in filling out in any missing information by speaking with their patient or connecting with previous health care providers to discuss what strategies to use or what ongoing therapy may be required.”

About St. Michael’s Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael’s Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.