Stroke Unit care is the single most powerful intervention to improve stroke outcomes, but Stroke Units cannot be Stroke Units in name only. As such, Stroke Unit certification is recommended by the World Health Organization, the World Stroke Organization and the Australian Government’s National Strategic Action Plan for Heart Disease and Stroke, as a quality assurance and improvement activity.
The Australian Stroke Coalition (ASC), co-chaired by the Stroke Society of Australasia and the Stroke Foundation, has developed a voluntary system for certification of stroke units in Australian hospitals, which has now been piloted.
The certification process involves a facilitated application and documentation evaluation, an online Zoom review and virtual site walk-through by a panel of two adjudicators (one medical and one nursing or allied health) and the Stroke Unit Certification Project Officer, with final approval by a National Committee. Voting members of the Committee, chaired by Professor Tim Kleinig, comprise clinical leads from each state and territory, as well as nursing, allied health and consumer representatives.
For sites that meet the criteria for certification, Stroke Unit Certification is awarded for a period of 4 years. Sites identified as being able to meet the criteria with support are granted Provisional Approval for a period of 12 months, to enable follow-up of recommended areas before full approval can be granted. Sites that are identified as unable to meet the criteria within 12 months are not granted certification, and are provided with support and guidance to improve their standard of stroke care. The aim is for sites to utilise this process to consolidate and strengthen local efforts or help build a case for more resources. All sites which achieve certification receive valuable feedback as part of the review process, which can be used to further strengthen their services.
The ASC Stroke Unit Certification pilot project has received strong interest from many sites across the country, as well as support from the Australian stroke community, which has been very encouraging.
The 12-month pilot is now complete, and the sites that have completed the full review process and achieved certification are listed below.
Additional sites are encouraged to register their interest for the post-pilot phase, as it is likely that the process will continue in some form.
For more information on the ASC’s Stroke Unit Certification Project, please contact Leah Pett: firstname.lastname@example.org
Australian hospitals that have achieved ASC Stroke Unit Certification
|Hospital||Certification Level||Date of Certification|
|Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital (NSW)||Stroke Capable Rural General Hospital||February 2023|
|Alfred Health (VIC)||Comprehensive Stroke Centre||February 2023|
|Royal Adelaide Hospital (SA)||Comprehensive Stroke Centre||March 2023|
|St John of God Midland Public and Private Hospitals (WA)||Primary Stroke Centre||March 2023|
|Launceston General Hospital (TAS)||Primary Stroke Centre||March 2023|
|Logan Hospital (QLD)||Primary Stroke Centre||May 2023|
|Echuca Regional Health (VIC)||Stroke Capable Rural General Hospital||June 2023|
|Alice Springs Hospital (NT)||Stroke Capable Rural General Hospital||July 2023|
|Box Hill Hospital (VIC)||Primary Stroke Centre||July 2023|
|Wagga Wagga Base Hospital (NSW)||Primary Stroke Centre||July 2023|
|Gold Coast University Hospital (QLD)||Comprehensive Stroke Centre||July 2023|