“He had motor weakness and the inability to speak,” said Quincy Leach, CVMC director of critical care and emergency services. “Through the use of clot-busting medication and appropriate treatment, he has no residual stroke symptoms. We couldn’t have said that 10 years ago.”
Leach said stroke was at one time believed to be untreatable; however, with recent technological advancements, education, research “and the hard work of the emergency team at CVMC, we’ve been able to improve stroke care and beat stroke in many cases. Brother Hoover is just one example of that.”
In recognition of the hospital’s success in treating strokes, the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association jointly presented CVMC’s emergency department with a Silver Stroke award this week. The distinction recognizes hospitals that have met AHA’s seven core measures for stroke treatment with 85 percent compliance or higher for one year.
“As a healthcare provider, your commitment to delivering the highest quality of care to every patient, every time, supports adherence to evidence-based practice and procedures while patients are in your care,” said Carla English, AHA director for quality and systems improvement, at an award presentation Wednesday. “As a hospital, your commitment ensures patients are consistency being treated with appropriate therapies prior to discharge.”
The hospital did not seek out the award, said emergency department nurse manager Nancy Hill, but instead was notified by AHA that it was eligible. The award is given at the gold, silver and bronze levels, determined by the length of time a hospital is compliant with AHA guidelines. CVMC will soon be eligible for gold, assuming its compliance continues, English said.
CVMC CEO Glenn Sisk said this recognition is “a tribute to team members providing continuous bedside care, the emergency department physicians and the leadership team.”
“It is our hope that the people of this region gain confidence that should they experience stroke symptoms and seek timely care, the CVMC team is prepared to meet them at their point of need by delivering only the highest level of care.”
Hill said every second counts once stroke symptoms begin, and a quick diagnosis and appropriate treatment make all the difference. There is a four-part test to know if you or someone else is likely experiencing stroke, remembered by the acronym FAST:
O Face – Is one side of the face drooping?
O Arm – Raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
O Speech – Is speech slowed or slurred?
O Time – If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately.
“You have three hours from symptom onset to make a diagnosis and administer the proper care,” Hill said. “Our goal in the emergency department is one hour, because the quicker we can get treatment started, the better the recovery.”
English said 795,000 Americans suffer a new or reoccurring stroke each year, accounting for 137,000 deaths. Stroke is the leading cause of disability in U.S. adults, she said.
Several practices CVMC employs are changing the odds for stroke sufferers, English said.
“We do believe that stroke is preventable,” she said. “We know that is treatable; we’ve seen a huge improvement in care delivery and outcomes across the United States. And we do know that stroke is beatable. It used to be when you had a stroke, you weren’t going to make it, but stroke is beatable.”
Contact Emily McLain at email@example.com.