In 2007, Community Medical Center was designated a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission and the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. Only facilities that adhere to very stringent requirements achieve this designation.
As a Primary Stroke Center, patients who present to Community Medical Center’s Emergency Department with signs and symptoms of a stroke are immediately placed into the hospital’s Rapid Stroke Assessment program. Under the guidelines of the program, potential stroke patients are taken to a rapid assessment area within the ED that was designated specifically for stroke and heart attack patients. In this area, tests are performed and results are received quickly.
Patients receive an immediate medical and nursing assessment, CT scans, blood tests and ECG, an intravenous line and certain medications. These protocols have been shown to be extremely beneficial in quickly identifying a stroke, and even prevent ones that are about to occur.
In addition, certain radiologic tests such as a CTA and MRI scan may be conducted.
When a stroke occurs, every minute matters
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of serious, long-term disability. The Primary Stroke Center at Community Medical Center reminds people that knowing the symptoms of stroke and acting quickly can make the difference between life and death.
Stroke symptoms may often be minimized and possibly reversed if treatment is delivered early. Studies have shown that clot-busting drugs delivered within the first three hours may be effective in limiting the debilitating effects of stroke. Patients must recognize warning signs and call 911 immediately.
For those who suspect someone is having a stroke, remember the word “FAST.”
F = Facial weakness; ask the person to smile to test for facial weakness.
A = Arm weakness, ask the person to hold their arms straight out if front of them to see if one drifts.
S = Speech disturbance; ask the person to say a simple sentence (the cow jumped over the moon) to see if they are able to understand and repeat it.
T = Time to call 911.
Strokes do not discriminate, and although some people are at higher risk than others due to lifestyle and family history, anyone can have a stroke. Treatable risk factors include hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol and heart problems. People often wait to see if their symptoms will go away and unwittingly put them selves in great danger. Symptoms that last for only a few minutes and then subside may still indicate a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or “mini stroke.”
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