Porter’s Outcomes: No Stroke of Luck. Minutes Matter

By: Porter Regional Hospital Last Updated: August 8, 2011

StayHealthy-No-Stroke-of-LuckFrom the Summer 2011 StayHealthy publication

At Porter, we’ve assembled an amazing team of healthcare professionals all working with one goal in mind – to help our patients survive and thrive after suffering a stroke.

The Stroke Team, comprised of neurologists, radiologists, emergency department doctors and nurses, and emergency response personnel, was developed as Porter moves toward becoming certified as a Primary Stroke Center.

Porter has been working closely with the Joint Commission and expects to receive the prestigious designation in the next few months. The certification as a Primary Stroke Center is awarded only to medical facilities that meet stringent national guidelines, and it will demonstrate that Porter is employing clinically proven services that are vital for improving stroke-patient outcomes.

As part of the guidelines, Porter follows certain evaluation and treatment time targets when patients arrive at the hospital with symptoms of stroke. “We make sure the patient has contact with the stroke team within 15 minutes of coming to Porter and that they have a CT or MRI done and interpreted within 45 minutes. Additionally, if has been determined the patient is a candidate for the receiving the clot busting drug known as t-PA, it will be administered within three hours of the onset of stroke symptoms,” said Neurologist Mahmood Alnahass, MD.

The drug t-PA (Tissue Plasminogen Activator) can be used in a person whose stroke is caused by a blood clot (ischemic stroke). “This drug can be very successful in preventing the debilitating effects of stroke,” Alnahass explained. “But it must be given within the three-hour time frame, which is why it is so important for anyone with stroke symptoms to come to the ER right away.”

With stroke being the third leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of adult disability, Porter’s comprehensive stroke program is essential, and it goes far beyond the time in which the patient is hospitalized. Porter’s continuum of care extends to the follow-up care available to them at the Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit located at the Portage Hospital Campus.

Under the direction of Neurologist Virgil DiBiase, MD, the IRU opened in 2008, and it has been pivotal in helping patients recover from a stroke. “There are many different kinds of stroke and some are more damaging than others,” DiBiase shared. “Some patients can return to nearly normal, while others suffer with severe motor and/or neurological problems. However the more rapidly we can get them into therapy, the better the prognosis.”

At Porter’s IRU, patients receive intense, one- on-one therapy from a team of physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, and a nursing staff specially trained in rehabilitation. A hallmark of Porter’s IRU is the individual treatment programs developed for each patient.

Because we are creating programs specifically around the patient’s needs, whether they are a stroke patient or any other patient in the IRU, we are seeing positive results in their recovery. Their quality of life is improving, and they are gaining better functionality in a relatively short amount of time,” said DiBiase.

While new treatments for stroke are on the horizon, stroke continues to be a national and local epidemic, which is why Porter’s physicians, nurses and ancillary staff continue to explore avenues for improvement for an already successful stroke treatment program.

Visit the Porter Health System website
Valparaiso Campus
814 LaPorte Avenue
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Phone: 219-263-4600

A Free Presentation from Porter: The Stroke Stops Here
Thursday, August 18, 2011, 6 pm

Porter's Education and Rehabilitation Campus
1410 Calumet Ave

Presented by Neurologist Dr. Virgil DiBiase

Stroke is the leading cause of disability in adults.

Join Dr. DiBiase as he discusses how to prevent a stroke, stroke symptoms and treatment options.

Pre-registration is required 1.800.541.1861. Refreshments provided.