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A stroke navigator talks to a colleague in her clinical unit
January 8, 2018

Introducing… a stroke navigator

Jennifer Robinson is the stroke navigator with the Integrated Stroke Program. She has been in this role for over a year, and was a physiotherapist with Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) for over 10 years.

What do you love most about your role?

I love when you can facilitate patients accessing the right stroke services at the right place and the right time. The role has so many components. Whether it is quickly pulling patients from the emergency department, or bringing the team together to transition patients to rehabilitation, or helping support a repatriation to a home hospital, you are part of someone’s stroke journey. As the navigator, you see patients across that care continuum and appreciate the great patient-centred care our teams provide.

What do you find challenging?

The biggest challenge is having to occasionally juggle many patients and priorities at once. There are many demands and the pace of flow through the stroke program is fast. You must stay organized and focused to ensure plans come together safely.

Describe a typical day

I start the day with printing the admission lists for all our sites, then review for all new stroke patients and identify the programs’ demands. Each day, I review the patients in the Integrated Stroke Program and work with the teams to reduce barriers to flow. As the navigator, my job is to track and enter metrics into a wait list database, which is used to drive quality work. I also participate in quality work either through CQI or Green Belt projects. This means I work with the teams to improve patient and staff satisfaction.

There are many demands and the pace of flow through the stroke program is fast.

Tell us about your most gratifying experience at HHS

I feel grateful when a patient can access best practice stroke care early in their stroke onset, then watch their remarkable recovery. Stroke best practice guidelines say patients need to have their acute care on an organized stroke unit with trained stroke-specific professionals. We know over 90% of HHS patients receive that care. Being part of a team that uses best practices in their daily work through assessment and treatment is quite fulfilling.

What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about your role?

Like many of our staff at HHS, I do a lot of data collection and quality work than most think. Though, acute and rehab flow is a large component of my role. I currently work on a project with the rehab teams to increase their direct patient time and increase the proportion of patients meeting their targeted length of stay by reviewing the team rounds process. Our goal would be to efficiently discuss the patients and make plans as a group, but to spend more time delivering stroke-specific care. The wait list database looks at how quickly patients access stroke-specific care (acute or rehab) and any barriers. We use this to drive quality work to help improve our processes.