Stroke MonthPublished on 6 June 2017 Hansard and Statements by Senator Terry Mercer
Hon. Terry M. Mercer:
Honourable senators, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada promotes June as Stroke Month. It seeks to increase public awareness about recognizing the signs and reducing the incidence of strokes through better education and healthier living.
Tomorrow, the foundation will release its 2017 Stroke Report, entitled Different Strokes, which will highlight recovery successes and challenges at all age levels. I for one look forward to reading it.
There are 62,000 Canadians each year who suffer a stroke. I happen to be one of those people because I suffered a stroke in September of 2014.
While I am a survivor, one of the 80 per cent who did, and my prognosis was excellent, there have been challenges. The challenges are not unique to me, but the impact of a stroke was different for me because of my age and my lifestyle, much like it would be different for someone who is 40 or 50 years old.
Recovering from a stroke requires constant support in order to fully regain your abilities. I am very lucky to have been able to access the support teams necessary to accomplish this.
Only 16 per cent of stroke patients who leave in-patient care hospitals get into in-patient rehabilitation right away and only 19 per cent within the first month after leaving hospital. Services in many communities are lacking, so we need to do a better job to ensure we have the proper systems in place.
Honourable senators, we also should recognize the role that families play in the healing process. I know I would not be here today if it were not for my wife, Ellen, and the rest of my family.
I also would like to thank and recognize others who helped me, from the Mount Uniacke Volunteer Fire Department, the professional staff at the Halifax Infirmary and the Nova Scotia Rehabilitation & Arthritis Centre. These types of volunteers and professionals help stroke patients all across Canada and should be commended for their excellent work.
I encourage you all to read the Heart and Stoke Foundation’s report to learn more about how you can prevent strokes but also how we need to do a better job to assist those who have suffered.