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Sarah Bush Lincoln Designated Acute Stroke-Ready Hospital

June 17, 2019 3:03 p.m.

Sarah Bush Lincoln was recently certified as an Acute Stroke-Ready Hospital by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).

This certification means that people, who present in the Emergency Department or as inpatients with stroke-like symptoms, will receive the best care possible with all resources coordinated and readily available.

Emergency Department Director Eli Heicher, RN, explained that as soon as a patient presents to the Emergency Department with stroke-like symptoms, the clock starts ticking. To determine if it is a stroke, a CT scan of the brain and lab work must be done quickly and the results provided within 45 minutes of the tests. In the event it is a stroke, when appropriate the medication, tPA, a drug that dissolves blood clots, will be administered within 60 minutes to minimize the lasting effects of a stroke. He added that stroke is in the top five leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the United States, and at Sarah Bush Lincoln, every day patients are evaluated with stroke symptoms.

To become an Acute Stroke-Ready hospital, staff members received education regarding strokes and stroke protocol so they could create a coordinated effort to bring necessary care to patients in an expedient manner. Additionally, quality metrics were submitted to IDPH that demonstrated among other items, door-to-brain imaging, door-to-medication therapy, if applicable, and door-to-transfer from emergency department, if necessary.

The initial assessment begins by EMS personnel when they respond to ambulance calls. An ER room is specially prepared in anticipation of the patient’s arrival and staff is alerted.

SBL Neurologist Fatima Alao, MD, praised the staff for its effort, noting that it took a coordinated effort to achieve this three-year designation. She added by being an Acute Stroke-Ready hospital, more people can receive this crucial care right here instead of being transferred to another facility.

She reminds the community members that they can help by remembering the acronym, FAST, to help spot people experiencing a stroke. FAST stands for Facial drooping; Arm weakness; Speech difficulties; and Time.

“If you recognize possible signs or symptoms of a stroke, call 911 for an ambulance so the assessment can begin immediately,” Heicher said.

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