Scarborough Health Network (SHN) is congratulating two members of its stroke team who have been recognized for their hard work and dedication to the stroke care community. Martina Sykula and Asha Shelton have both received the inaugural Excellence in Stroke Care Award from the Toronto Stroke Network (TSN), which are given to individuals who display the TSNs vision of “Fewer Strokes. Better Outcomes” and improve patient outcomes through stroke best-practice care. The winners must have also demonstrated excellence in patient-centred care, and showed a commitment to collaboration and team work. 

Meet the winners:

SHN Occupational therapist, Martina Sykula

Martina Sykula

As an occupational therapist in acute and inpatient stroke rehabilitation, Martina provides holistic occupational therapy assessment and intervention services to patients admitted to the Integrated Stroke Unit at SHN. Through her work, Martina has become a strong voice for patients, where she continually advocates for necessary consults, like psychiatric follow-ups, community services, and appropriate discharge planning recommendations. In addition, Martina champions quality improvement activities within the unit, all while maintaining her commitment to personal and professional development, patient safety and respect, and compassionate, patient- and family-centred care. 

“I see patients at SHN face and conquer all kinds of hardships, whether it’s physical, cognitive, functional, or emotional. Experiencing a stroke is an emotionally challenging and difficult time. My role is to help individuals recognize and celebrate the important milestones,” Martina explained.

“The most rewarding experiences come from the most challenging ones, and I want to thank each and every stroke survivor and past stroke patient for their great courage and strength to be vulnerable. I speak on behalf of our staff here at SHN that we see the hard work you put in each and every day, and we are here to ensure we are doing the best job we can to provide you with excellent care and support to help you with your recovery. We thank you for trusting us with your care,” she added. 

SHN Speech language pathologist, Asha Shelton

Asha Shelton 

Compassionate and dedicated, Asha Shelton is a voice and support for stroke patients. Through her work as a speech language pathologist, Asha advocates for patients and plays an integral role in supporting them through their stroke care journey. Working collaboratively within an interprofessional team, Asha maximizes patients’ independence and safety post-stroke. Above all else, Asha builds powerful rapports with her patients and colleagues. She is approachable and empathic, and maintains respectful working relationships with those around her. 

“I have seen the functional impacts of stroke, as a family member/caregiver, which inspires my sincere desire to improve the lives of those living with disability post-stroke, through stroke best practice strategies,” Asha shared.

“Working alongside an amazing interdisciplinary team comprised of management, allied health colleagues, physicians, nursing and support staff makes it easy to strive towards excellence in patient- and family-centred care, as we work collaboratively to bring the best care that we can to the diverse population of the Scarborough Health Network community,” she added.

With nearly a quarter of Scarborough’s population experiencing high blood pressure, SHN hospitals saw 2,352 emergency department visits and 1,810 patients, admitted for stroke-related concerns since the Stroke Centre of Excellence opened at Birchmount Hospital in April 2020.​​​​​​​