Providing exceptional care to stroke patients takes the dedication and collaboration of multiple people and departments within a hospital. AVH is no exception and coordination of care begins before a patient even arrives at the door and continues after discharge.
Even before arriving at the hospital, the Emergency Medical Services are in contact with the Emergency Department communicating important information about patients with signs of stroke. This allows members of the stroke treatment team to be ready to respond when the patient arrives.
Patients with signs of stroke are quickly assessed and tests are performed to confirm the diagnosis of stroke and determine if the patient is eligible for treatment with Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA). AVH consistently administers tPA in less time than the 60‑minute goal set by the American Stroke Association.
Type of stroke and severity of a patient’s symptoms determines where they go after the Emergency Department. Patients who are given tPA will stay in the Intensive Care Unit for a short period of time for close monitoring after receiving the medication. Those requiring more advanced care, such as clot retrieval, will be transported from AVH’s Emergency Department to another facility. Patients that have had a stroke caused by blood in the brain or a large stroke that may need surgery will be seen by neurosurgery and will often be placed in the Intensive Care Unit. Patients who do not require this higher level of care will be admitted to the Progressive Care Unit or the Medical Surgical Stroke Unit. No matter which unit the patient is sent to they are cared for by nurses who are specially trained to treat stroke.
Stroke treatment at AVH focuses not only on recovery, but also on prevention of further strokes. Patients are educated about their personal risk factors for stroke as well as things they can do to reduce their risk for another stroke.
A stroke can be a disabling and life‑changing event that impacts the whole family. At AVH we strive to include the family or caretaker in education, goal‑setting and the discharge planning process. AVH has in‑house rehabilitation services 7 days a week for patients with deficits caused by their stroke. The rehabilitation team helps assess the patient’s needs and initiates therapy that can be continued after discharge. Case managers are involved when patients require further care after their hospital stay or who will need extra support to return home. Ensuring that the patient is discharged to the appropriate setting, and has the tools they need to succeed in the next steps of their care can have a profound impact on their recovery and improve quality of life.