DCH Regional Medical Center
A stroke is an attack on the brain. A stroke occurs when a blockage or broken blood vessel keeps blood from reaching portions of the brain. Without prompt medical treatment, brain cells begin to die, resulting in a loss of physical and mental functions, such as speech, sight, sense of touch and thought processing.
Every year, nearly 500,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke, making stroke the nation’s No. 1 cause of disability and the No. 3 cause of death. At DCH Regional Medical Center, the Emergency Department and Acute Stroke Unit have established an extensive system that enables medical personnel to treat stroke as an emergency.
Our stroke team includes a neurologist, emergency department physicians and nurses; stroke unit nurses; case managers; physical, respiratory, occupational and speech therapists; social workers and nutrition support personnel. Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are also trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke to take appropriate measures to stabilize the patient on the way to the hospital.
In many cases of stroke, a clot-busting drug called t-PA (tissue plasminogen activator) can reopen blocked blood vessels and minimize the loss of brain cells. For t-PA to be effective, a stroke patient must receive the drug within three hours after stroke symptoms first appear.
The key to safe and effective use of t-PA therapy is getting the patient to the hospital in sufficient time for a complete evaluation within three hours of symptom onset. An evaluation includes a CT brain scan to rule out a hemorraghic stroke or bleeding in the brain. Not all patients are eligible for t-PA therapy.
After initial treatment in the Emergency Department, stroke patients are admitted to the Stroke Unit, located on the fifth floor of DCH Regional Medical Center.
The Stroke Unit at DCH Regional Medical Center provides care to patients suffering from Medical/Neuro or Acute Ischemic Stroke. There are 38 beds on the stroke unit, with 4 allocated for acute stroke patients. Complete nursing care for stroke patients is provided, including cardiac monitoring, special feeding protocols, discharge planning and patient/family teaching.
Stroke Unit staff members provide education on stroke to the community through Stroke Alert and community Health Fairs.