Work has started on the design of a new, 28-bed acute stroke unit at Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg.

“Centralized stroke units can reduce the harm a stroke can cause and make a real difference for patients,” said Cameron Friesen, Minister of Health, Seniors and Active Living. “We have already started the necessary design work at the soon-to-be former Women’s Pavilion site to ensure construction on Manitoba’s first acute stroke unit can proceed on a timely basis.”

FT3 Architecture and SMS Engineering were awarded the design work as part of the tendering process. The new stroke unit, to be located on the fifth floor of the Women’s Pavilion at 735 Notre Dame Ave., will provide treatment, management and rehabilitation for stroke patients from across the province.

A trained team of inter-professional staff will provide care including stroke neurologists, hospitalists, physiatrists, and rehabilitation specialists.

“The creation of an acute stroke unit will provide Manitobans recovering from a stroke with the full range of therapies they need to maximize their recovery,” said Dr. Perry Gray, chief medical officer, Shared Health. “Providing all rehab care in one location will minimize transport time for patients as much as possible, allowing more time for therapy that will help them recover sooner.”

Approximately 2,000 Manitobans suffer a stroke each year. Amassing a large number of clinical resources in one space who have expertise in treating stroke patients will improve the level of care they receive, speed up recovery time, and ensure rehabilitation therapy is readily available. It will also free up beds for patients who require acute care elsewhere in the health system.

Friesen said construction is expected to begin on the acute stroke unit following the relocation of staff, equipment, and programming currently using the space to the new HSC Winnipeg Women’s Hospital on William Avenue on Dec. 1. The construction will include upgrades to heating, ventilation and lighting, asbestos removal, an upgraded nurse call system, new sprinklers, and new elevators.

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