Union Hospital in Dover is now a certified Primary Stroke Center. In making the announcement, Carey Gardner, director of Community Relations says this achievement marks a significant step forward for patient care at Union Hospital.
“Gaining the status of a certified Primary Stoke Center assures our community that we have the resources and commitment to provide the best possible stroke care,” Gardner said. “According to DNV, our accrediting organization, a Primary Stroke Center has the right equipment, personnel and training to quickly assess and treat strokes.”
The DNV certification is based on standards set forth by the Brain Attack Coalition and American Stroke Association. It means Union Hospital addresses the full spectrum of stroke care; diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, education, and is measuring and evaluating patient outcomes.
Gardner says a team of 23 doctors, nurses, and departments involved with stroke care began work in late 2011 with a goal to improve outcomes for stroke patients. A barrier to improving outcomes was the time between the patient’s arrival at the Emergency Department and examination by a neurologist.
“When a stroke begins, time is critical to treating the patient and limiting the risk of death or lifetime disability,” according to Nathan Johnson, M.D., medical director of the Primary Stroke Center. “Emergency staff received additional training and we developed “Stroke Alert” protocols that involved many hospital departments. This is all designed to speed the process of testing, evaluating, and treating the stroke patient.”
Dr. Johnson says the key to the program has been the Telestroke Network, started on March 1 of last year, in collaboration with the Cleveland Clinic. “The Telestroke Network has reduced the delay in neurology care. Within minutes we can have the neurologist alongside the stroke team in the ER treatment room.”
“The Telestroke technology provides live two-way audio and video communication at the patient’s bedside,” Gardner said. “The ER team and Clinic physician work together to evaluate the patient and determine the most appropriate treatment.”
“Since we began the stroke program we’ve increase our ability to treat a patient with the “clot-buster” drug that has the potential to stop the stroke and limit its disabling effects,” Dr. Johnson said. “Our relationship with the Clinic also provides for the efficient transfer of patients to the Clinic when they require treatment beyond our capabilities.”
Gardner says that further recognition for Union Hospital’s stroke care program came in January from the American Heart Association /American Stroke Association. UH received the “Get with the Guidelines – Stroke Bronze Quality Achievement Award” by meeting quality guidelines for the rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients.
“This award from the American Heart Association and certification as a Primary Stroke Center demonstrates our commitment to quality patient care,” Gardner added. “It’s something we are all proud of at Union Hospital and is news we are very pleased to share with the local community that relies on this hospital for quality care, close to home.