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Work underway on dedicated stroke unit in Winnipeg

Construction of a new dedicated stroke unit at Health Sciences Centre is expected to start in December.
Construction of a new dedicated stroke unit at Health Sciences Centre is expected to start in December. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Thomas Kienzle

Work has begun on a new specialized stroke unit at Health Sciences Centre.

The 28-bed acute stroke unit will open in space recently vacated at the Women’s Pavilion on Notre Dame Avenue with the opening of the new women’s hospital late last month.

“Centralized stroke units can reduce the harm a stroke can cause and make a real difference for patients,” said Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen, in a release.

“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.”

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In a release Friday, Friesen said design work has begun on the unit, which will provide treatment, management, and rehabilitation for stroke patients from across the province.

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Roughly 2,000 Manitobans suffer a stroke every year.

Manitoba is the only province in the country that does not already have a dedicated stroke unit.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation has for years been calling on the government to build a stroke unit, previously telling Global News they can reduce the chance of disability and death by as much as 30 per cent.

Diego Marchese, executive vice-president of the Heart and Stroke Foundation in Western Canada praised the new unit in the government’s release.

“Heart and Stroke is pleased to see the government’s commitment to establish an acute stroke unit becoming a reality, which will bring stroke care in Manitoba in line with the rest of the country,” said Marchese.

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“Stroke units save lives, improve patient outcomes and reduce the burden on the health-care system.”

The province says the new unit will be staffed by a team including stroke neurologists, hospitalists, physiatrists, and rehabilitation specialists.

Now that design work is underway, construction is expected to get started after staff, equipment, and programming currently using the space move over to the new women’s hospital Dec. 1.

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