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Stroke Research That Matters

Pictured (left to right): Honourable Paul Merriman, Patrick Odnokon (SHRF), Allison Kesler and Yves Savoie (Heart & Stroke), Dr. Preston Smith (College of Medicine) and Dr. Michael Kelly.

June 27, 2017

Different Strokes: Recovery Triumphs and Challenges at Any Age

People of all ages who experience stroke and their families encounter personal triumphs and face common challenges in their recovery.

The majority of people (80%) survive stroke. As the Canadian population ages and more young people are having strokes, the number of people living with stroke and requiring support will continue to increase. In fact, there are more than 400,000 Canadians living with long-term disability from stroke, with this number expected to almost double in the next 20 years.

Half of all Canadians living with stroke need help with daily activities such as eating, bathing, dressing, going to the washroom and getting around and more than 40% require more intense support. Yet many needs are not being met. While some excellent resources are available in communities, they are too few and mostly in major centres, and barriers exist around awareness, access and cost.

There are unique challenges in stroke recovery at different ages. Kids brains’ are growing and recovering at the same time, and can face cognitive and behavioural issues. Younger adults encounter issues around: being able to drive again, returning to work or school, raising young families, and long-term finances stress. The average older stroke patient has five other chronic conditions, and many older patients and their caregivers face isolation and depression. Family caregivers play an essential role in stroke recovery yet they rarely receive the preparation and support they need.

The Heart & Stroke 2017 Stroke Report looks at the stroke recovery journey across the ages, highlighting common challenges and issues that occur at specific life stages: babies and children, younger adults and older adults. It examines the essential role of the family caregiver, highlights the importance of placing the patient and family at the centre of care, and identifies areas where system improvements could support the changing profile and needs of people who experience stroke.

The report is available at

Learn more about the signs of stroke and find resources for recovery and support by visiting the Heart & Stroke website.

Renewed Hope for Stroke Research

Earlier this month SHRF was happy to celebrate Stroke Month by jointly announcing the renewal of Dr. Michael Kelly as the Saskatchewan Research Chair in Clinical Stroke Research with our partner, the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Together with our partner, and with generous support for the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine, Dr. Kelly and his team will receive $1.5 million in funding towards continued research into improved stroke care, with a focus on a comprehensive provincial strategy that includes prevention and rehabilitation. We were happy to have a patient of Dr. Kelly’s at the announcement to emphasize the importance of the work Dr. Kelly’s team has done and will continue to do to improve health outcomes for Saskatchewan people.

More Investments in Saskatchewan Stroke Research

SHRF-funded Dr. Francisco Cayabyab, a basic science researcher in the Department of Surgery at the University of Saskatchewan, was recently awarded almost $200,000 over three years from the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Through his research, Dr. Cayabyab is developing a greater understanding of the biochemical pathways activated by the adenosine receptors in the brain, so we can find ways to boost the capacity of neurons to protect themselves from damage during and after a stroke. 

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