Community Hospital Recognized for Improving Stroke Awareness

By: Community Healthcare System Last Updated: June 16, 2015

Community-Hospital-Stroke-Awareness-2015Amerinet, a leading national healthcare solutions organization, has announced that Community Hospital’s stroke treatment program is among the winners of its seventh annual Amerinet Healthcare Achievement Awards. The awards recognize hospitals for their efforts to improve quality of care through community impact and innovation.

“Our specialized Stroke Team has been recognized for finding new ways to bring awareness to the community,” said Don Fesko, CEO, Community Hospital. “Besides free monthly support programs at the hospital, the annual Stroke Awareness Fair in May – during stroke awareness month – provides one more way to educate the public on early signs and symptoms of stroke and stroke prevention. These efforts can be traced to marked improvements in response time.”

“Our team understands that when it comes to a stroke, every second counts,” said Ronda McKay, DNP, CNS, RN, chief nursing officer and vice president Patient Care Services. “A stroke takes place as the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted or severely limited, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die. Early treatment can make a big difference in helping to limit brain damage and the potential for stroke complications. With access to some of the most advanced diagnostic technologies, our stroke team works together to diagnose a stroke and begin treatments as quickly as possible.”

“Our data shows that community members experiencing stroke symptoms are calling EMS 17 percent more than they were prior to the Stroke Awareness Fair,” McKay said. “They also are arriving at the Community Hospital emergency department sooner, increasing their treatment options and risk for disability. Patients arriving to the emergency department greater than six hours of their ‘last time known well’ has decreased by 22 percent, indicating that the Stroke Awareness Fair has been effective in educating the public.”

Community Hospital's Neuroscience Intensive and Intermediate Care units, as well as the Rehabilitation Center provide specialized care to help stroke patients to recover with fewer complications and with less time in the hospital. Stroke patients benefit from individualized care that aims to optimize recovery and maximize independence. Members of the stroke team meet on a regular basis to review care guidelines and treatment regimens and analyze quality measures.

An important part of stroke care at Community Hospital is the assessment each patient is provided to determine their continuing care needs after leaving the hospital. Supported by the expertise of the Rehabilitation Center, a free support group and stroke prevention education programs offer other year round resources to patients and their families.

Community Hospital also has met the goal of registering greater than 50 percent of the Stroke Awareness Fair participants into MyChart®, an online electronic medical records system that allows patients to have access and control of their health records. The hope is that by gaining access to their record, patients will be more knowledgeable and empowered about their overall health.

Community Hospital in Munster has more than 600 physicians and 1,000 nurses on staff offering a broad range of services. Community Hospital has been a recipient of Healthgrades’ Stroke Care Excellence Award for seven years in a row, 2009-2015.