Welcome to My Stroke Recovery Journey   Click to listen highlighted text! Welcome to My Stroke Recovery Journey


We have provided a list of definitions to terms on the Journey Map and website.
Terms are listed alphabetically.

Acute Stroke Unit Care

A stroke unit is an in-hospital facility that provides care for patients with stroke. An acute stroke unit provides care in the immediate and early stages of a stroke. ref


Aphasia is a communicative disorder that often results from a stroke or other brain injury. If you have aphasia, it may be hard to talk, understand speech, read, and write. ref

Clot-busting drug

tPA is the abbreviated form of tissue plasminogen activator and can only be given to patients who are having a stroke caused by a blood clot (ischemic stroke). It can stop a stroke by breaking up the blood clot. ref

Cryptogenic stroke

A category of ischemic stroke for which no probable cause is found despite a thorough diagnostic evaluation. It is not attributable to a source of definite cardioembolism, large artery atherosclerosis, or small artery disease. ref

Ischemic stroke

An ischemic stroke is caused by a blockage or clot in a blood vessel in your brain. The blockage can be caused when a substance called plaque builds up on the inside wall of an artery. The blockage or clot grows as blood cells and fat cells stick to the plaque. Gradually, it grows big enough to block normal blood flow. ref

Hemorrhagic Stroke

Hemorrhagic stroke is caused when an artery in the brain breaks open. The interrupted blood flow causes damage to your brain. ref

Integrated Stroke Unit


An ISU provides both acute and rehabilitative care for patients during their inpatient stays following a stroke. The patient remains on the same unit, in the same bed, surrounded by key health team members there to help them through their acute and rehabilitation care. ref

Local Health Integration Network

LHINs are not-for-profit corporations that work with local health providers and community members to determine the health service priorities of their regions. LHINs will not provide services directly, but will instead be responsible for integrating services in each of their specific geographic areas. (NW LHIN)

LHINs used to be referred to as Community Care Access Centres (CCACs). LHINs are being dissolved. A similar role is performed now by Ontario Health Teams.


A navigator works with the health care team to determine what type of recovery care is best for each patient; provides education and support when you move between the areas of stroke care. A navigator may also be called a care coordinator. (Hamilton Health Sciences Stroke Care Binder)

Occupational Therapist (OT)

An occupational therapist will help the injured person improve their ability to perform activities of daily living more independently following a period of physical impairment.

Ontario Health Team


Ontario Health Teams are groups of providers and organizations that, at maturity, will be clinically and fiscally accountable for delivering a full and coordinated continuum of care to a defined population. They play a similar role to what were formerly called LHINs. (ref)

Physiotherapist (PT)

A physiotherapist will focus on treating a client’s injury and working to improve his/her ability to perform movement of the human body.


A psychologist assesses and treats changes in thinking and emotions common after stroke (Hamilton Health Sciences Stroke Care Binder)

Respite Care

Respite care is the provision of short-term and/or
temporary relief to those who are caring for family
members or loved ones. Care can be provided at home, in a healthcare facility, or at an adult day center. ref

Speech Language Pathologist (SLP)

A speech language pathologist helps you with your spoken and written communication. They assess and make recommendations for managing swallowing problems. (HHS Stroke Care Binder)


A stroke happens when blood stops flowing to any part of your brain, damaging brain cells. The effects of a stroke depend on the part of the brain that was damaged and the amount of damage done (Heart & Stroke).

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