Send to

Choose Destination
BMJ Open Qual. 2018 Jul 7;7(3):e000258. doi: 10.1136/bmjoq-2017-000258. eCollection 2018.

Enhancing acute stroke services: a quality improvement project.

Author information

Department of Geriatric Medicine, University Hospital Limerick, Limerick, Ireland.
School of Medicine, University of Limerick, Limerick, Limerick, Ireland.



In a busy stroke centre in Ireland, care for acute stroke was provided by a mixture of general physicians. In acute ischaemic stroke, speed is essential for good outcomes.


To improve acute stroke services and decrease door-to-needle (DTN) time to less than 60 min by December 2016 in patients with acute ischaemic stroke who are eligible for intravenous thrombolysis.Design: A quality improvement (QI) project was undertaken in a 438 bed, acute, university hospital.


Mixture of qualitative and quantitative data collected. A process map and driver diagram were created. Interventions tested with Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles. Times compared between July and December 2015, January and July 2016, July and December 2016, when a new stroke team and pathway were introduced.


Between July and December 2015, the total number of ischaemic strokes was 216. 17 were thrombolysed (7.8%). Median door-to-CT (DTCT) time was 36 min (range 21-88). Median DTN time was 99 min (range 52-239). Between July and December 2016, there were 214 ischaemic strokes. 29 were thrombolysed (13.5%). 9 were seen directly by the stroke team during normal hours. With stroke team involvement, median DTCT time was 34 min (range 14-60) and DTN time was 43.5 min (range 24-65).


This project led to a significant and sustained improvement in acute stroke care in our hospital with the use of quality improvement techniques. A comprehensive protocol, recurrent and ongoing staff education, and good communication helped to mitigate delays and further enhance care provided to patients presenting with stroke. The approach described may be valuable to the improvement of other services.'


healthcare quality improvement; hospital medicine; quality improvement

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center