Accredited Stroke centers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area hospitals have increased over the past two years. In Collin County there are now two hospitals designated as Accredited Stroke Centers, with a total of 14 in the 19-county region.
Emergency Medical Services takes patients with stroke-like symptoms directly to these centers. Thus more people are expected to survive these events. In certain circumstances this may mean bypassing the closest Emergency Department and directing the stroke patient to the closest designated center, but only as determined by the responding EMS professionals.
Recognizing the trend, Twin Creeks Hospital has developed a Stroke Rehabilitation Program that compliments that at Stroke Center services. The rehabilitation process or road to recovery and regaining independence begins almost immediately in order to provide patients the tools to optimize this initial phase of recovery. Twin Creeks Hospital has taken the first step toward becoming a Joint Commission Accredited Program in Stroke Rehabilitation by adopting evidence-based practices as the foundation for the care and program components.
The Twin Creeks Hospital team, led by Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Specialist Dr. Ivan Figueroa and Neurologist Dr. Maushmi Sheth, evaluates the stroke survivor. Based on findings, it develops an individualized treatment plan and implements protocols based on the neurological deficits noted, the functions that were impacted, and the severity of the stroke. Other team members get involved including specialized occupation, speech and physical therapists, rehabilitation nurses, neuro-psychologist and other healthcare professionals.
The program is based on research studies compiled by the American Stroke Association and related evidence-based research literature. “The major differences in the care, now that the program has been developed, are in the systematic and holistic approach taken by the team. The most significant two changes to our program are the emphasis on educating the patient, family and all caregivers in the rehabilitation processes, and reinforcing the steps that the patient can take to reduce their risk of having another stroke,” according to Dr Figueroa.
The family/caregiver is crucial to the patient’s post-stroke recovery. The clinicians, along with family/caregiver work as a team sharing in the decisions regarding the rehabilitation program. Education is provided in an interactive and written format to the patient and family/caregiver. The patient and family/caregiver participate in the development of the patient’s treatment goals with the clinical team and are updated weekly as to the patient’s progress toward those mutually determined goals. “Working together as a unit, we are seeing improved results in satisfaction and outcomes measured, based on the performance of the patients.” states Beth Hudson, Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse and Chief Nursing Officer at Twin Creeks Hospital.
The entire Stroke Recovery Team at Twin Creeks Hospital is comprised of specialized physicians, physiatrist and/or physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist, neurologist, internal medicine practitioner, neuro-psychologist, physical, occupational, and speech therapists, pharmacists, clinical dietician, rehabilitation nurses, a case manager and chaplain. Regardless of the expertise of the various treatment team members in either the Acute Care or Rehabilitation Hospital setting, the most significant factor in recovering from a stroke is time.
Time is absolutely critical in initial recognition of the signs and symptoms of the stroke. And time is critical in seeking this specialized level of care that Designated Stroke Centers offer.
Those warning signs for stroke include:
Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
If you feel that you are experiencing one or more of these signs, it is imperative that you seek immediate medical attention at a designated Stroke Center.
Once you have stabilized medically, Twin Creeks Hospital stands ready to help stroke suffers make that first step toward regaining independence.
Remember: ACT F-A-S-T
F for face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A for arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S for speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Are the words slurred? Is the Sentence repeated correctly?
T for time: If the person shows any of these symptoms, time is critical. Call 911 and get to the hospital or Designated Stroke Center immediately