ProMedica Toledo Hospital has opened a 20-bed stroke unit in conjunction with a new 15-bed neuro intensive care unit.
The services recently moved from another location within the hospital to a newly developed floor of the Renaissance Tower. The unit includes all private rooms, 24-hour MRI service and telemedicine capabilities that soon will allow neurologists in Toledo to monitor and treat patients at ProMedica hospitals in nearby communities, including Oregon, Defiance and Fostoria.
“We want to emphasize to the community that stroke is an emergency,” said Kelley Joseph, RN, stroke care coordinator at Toledo Hospital. “Unfortunately, because stroke victims often do not experience the symptom of pain, they may ignore the warning signs until severe damage has already been done.”
Toledo Hospital is recognized by The Joint Commission for certification as a Primary Stroke Center – a distinction awarded to centers that demonstrate long-term success in achieving better outcomes for stroke patients. The Toledo Hospital center met all national standards for stroke care in an on-site evaluation in 2011.
Statistics show that on average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, while someone dies of a stroke every 3.1 minutes. It is the nation’s third leading cause of death, with about 795,000 people experiencing a new or recurrent stroke each year. Stroke is also a leading cause of long-term disability with about 4.7 million stroke survivors.
“Common stroke symptoms include tingling or numbness of the face, which can cause a crooked smile or drooping of the eye; weakness, numbness, or tingling in an arm; and slurred or garbled speech,” says neurologist James Sander, MD. “If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s time to call 911.”
When a patient arrives at Toledo Hospital with acute neurological symptoms, a stroke alert is initiated, which triggers a prescribed sequence of events and practices. The patient will receive a CAT scan, blood work and a National Institutes of Health Stroke Survey (NIHSS), which is an 11-step, comprehensive neurological exam that assigns a number to the patient’s deficit. The numbers give the stroke team a sense of the patient’s level of disability on a scale of 0 to 32.
In addition to providing acute care, the stroke unit nursing staff and physicians work proactively to help patients avoid another stroke, complementing medical therapies with tools and education to help manage risk.
“What we’ve done here is increase our knowledge and passion in treating this population of patients. The bottom line is, these changes will allow us to help the community so much more, become a beacon for stroke care, and most importantly, improve our patients’ outcomes,” Joseph says.
For more information about stroke, visit www.promedica.org and click on “About Your Health.”