When a Stroke Strikes, the Clock Starts Ticking

Thursday, July 12, 2018

“Time is brain” is the common refrain from physicians and health care providers, who warn that the longer a stroke patient waits to be treated, the more damage is done to the brain.

Stroke team members are pictured at WellSpan York Hospital, which has achieved Advanced Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Centers. All WellSpan community acute-care hospitals are recognized for the quality of their care, either as Comprehensive or Primary stroke centers.

Stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the U.S., according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA).

That’s why WellSpan Health has focused on providing advanced stroke care in communities across Central Pennsylvania. Leading the way is WellSpan York Hospital, which has achieved The Joint Commission and AHA/ASA’s prestigious Advanced Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Centers. This strengthens WellSpan’s regional stroke care network, which also includes certified Primary Stroke Centers at WellSpan Gettysburg Hospital, WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital and WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital. All Primary Stroke Centers are recognized by The Joint Commission and the AHA/ASA as having made exceptional efforts to foster better outcomes for stroke care.

With its Comprehensive Stroke Center certification, WellSpan York Hospital joins an elite group of healthcare organizations focused on highly specialized stroke care. To be eligible, hospitals must meet additional requirements, including those related to advanced imaging capabilities, 24/7 availability of specialized treatments, and providing staff with the unique education and competencies to care for complex stroke patients.

But what does a stroke center designation mean to you and your patients? At WellSpan, it means comprehensive, coordinated care, according to Grant Sorkin, MD, an endovascular neurosurgeon with WellSpan. “Staff from multiple disciplines make up the many moving parts to become a well-oiled machine to deliver great care. There is a real team effort involved,” says Dr. Sorkin.

When a stroke patient arrives at WellSpan York Hospital, WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital, WellSpan Gettysburg Hospital or WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital, a highly trained team of neurologists, emergency medicine physicians, nurses and others works together to assess and treat the patient.

The team uses brain imaging technology, such as CT or MRI scans to determine the type of stroke the patient has suffered. Then, based on the results of the scan and other factors, the neurologist may recommend one or more procedures, including cerebral angioplasty and stenting.

Recognizing that patients may require additional care following discharge from an acute-care hospital, WellSpan offers specialty inpatient rehabilitation services at WellSpan Surgery and Rehabilitation Hospital, located on the Apple Hill Health Campus in York. It is the first hospital in Central Pennsylvania to be awarded the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities International designation for its Brain Injury Specialty Program, representing the highest-level recognition for an organization’s quality of care. WellSpan Surgery and Rehabilitation Hospital also offers advanced neurosurgical, orthopedic and spine injury procedures, as well as both inpatient and specialized outpatient rehabilitation services.

Outpatient rehabilitation sites across WellSpan are also available, along with WellSpan VNA Home Care, which is made up of a specialized team of nurses, aides, and physical, occupational and speech therapists who provide care in the comfort of a patient’s home. It’s a system that offers coordinated care and recovery to help patients regain function and return to their active lifestyles, explains Dr. Sorkin.

For more information about WellSpan’s stroke care, visit www.WellSpan.org/Stroke.