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May is National Stroke Awareness Month: Community Hospital Develops “Stroke Alert”

May 22, 2017

McCook, Nebraska—Stroke can happen to anyone, at any time, at any age. People affected by a stroke should not delay, realize that stroke is a medical emergency, and urgently seek medical attention.

With the Nebraska Bill LB722, the Stroke System of Care Act, Nebraska hospitals and communities are called upon to develop and implement a system of care to identify, treat, and care for stoke patients in a timely manner. With this, hospitals will designate themselves as certified for stroke care.

To help treat people faster who may be undergoing a stroke, Community Hospital has implemented a new stroke alert in early 2017, according to Tammy Kolbet, RN, Stroke Coordinator. This was the work of the stroke team, which was made up of Emergency Department staff, as well as multiple departments and individuals throughout the hospital, and McCook EMS. With the stroke alert, when a patient arrives who may be having a stroke, staff from additional departments such as radiology, laboratory, and pharmacy will come to quickly assess and begin treatments in a coordinated manner using the protocols they have made.

“This new process has improved our door-to-CAT-scan result times,” Tammy said. “We were averaging around 45 minutes for CT results and since implementing the Stroke Alert, we have had CT results as fast as 15 minutes.” CT results are important in the treatment of stroke. She added that the faster results have been consistent, even with walk-ins who came by private car and not by ambulance. As with many processes at Community Hospital, the results are measured and tracked so the process can be improved as needed.

Tammy reminds people that stroke is an emergency. “Every minute counts! We only have a limited amount of time to give a medication to help reverse the signs and symptoms of stroke.”

Learn the letters F.A.S.T. This will help people identify quickly the signs and symptoms of stroke, and when to call 911.

F: Facial Drooping

Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person's smile uneven or lopsided?

A: Arm Weakness

Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S: Speech Difficult

Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like "The sky is blue." Is the person able to correctly repeat the words?

T: Time to call 911

If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and say, "I think this is a stroke" to help get the person to the hospital immediately. Time is important! Don't delay, and also note the time when the first symptoms appeared. Emergency responders will want to know.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and in Nebraska. It is also one of the leading causes of adult disability. Remember that treatment as soon as possible can save someone’s life, and even prevent or reduce disability. Community Hospital’s stroke team is prepared.

StrokeAssociation.org is a great resource to learn more about stroke.

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