If you or someone you love experiences a stroke, it's reassuring to know expert help is immediately available. Stroke care requires a dedicated team that fights stroke 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Diamond Stroke Center at Abington Memorial Hospital is designed to diagnose, treat and manage patients with stroke. The center has committed its services to the community by interacting and teaching people about stroke warning signs and prevention.
Q. What if I or someone I love experiences stroke?
A. The first step for you or a loved one if you think you are experiencing symptoms of stroke is to call 9-1-1 and have emergency personnel get you to the nearest emergency room for evaluation. Seconds are precious in minimizing the damage of stroke.
Q. What if I want to learn more about symptoms of stroke?
A. The symptoms of stroke include:
- Sudden weakness or numbness in an arm or leg
- Sudden vision problems
- Sudden difficulty in speaking or understanding what someone is saying to you
- Sudden dizziness, lack of coordination, or staggering or falling
- Sudden severe headache
Q. Why should I choose AMH for stroke care?
A. The Stroke Center at Abington Memorial Hospital (now the Diamond Stroke Center) was the first in the State of Pennsylvania in 2004 to earn the Gold Seal of Approval and achieve Disease-Specific Care Certification from the Joint Commission. In May 2008, the Stroke Center was recognized by Philadelphia Magazine as a "Top Hospital Center of Excellence."
Over the past five years, Abington Memorial Hospital has received Bronze, Silver and Gold Performance Achievement Awards from the American Stroke Association's Get With The Guidelines SM-Stroke (GWTG-Stroke). AMH was awarded again this year a Gold Performance Achievement Award. This award recognizes AMH's commitment and success in implementing a higher standard and quality of stroke care. Obtaining this award signifies 85% compliance or greater for seven of the American Stroke Association's stroke performance measures. Data for these measures are collected and analyzed for 24 months.
Q. What should I look for when choosing a stroke center?
A. All stroke centers are not alike. As published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, key elements of a stroke center include an acute stroke team, a stroke unit, written care protocols, integrated EMS, rehabilitation services and community education programs. Inpatient support services include availability and interpretation of CT scans 24 hours a day, rapid laboratory testing and around-the-clock pharmacy services. Administrative support, strong leadership and continuing education are also important elements.
Q. What are the components of a our stroke center?
A. The Diamond Stroke Center at AMH consistently sets goals to improve patient outcomes. A fully integrated and multidisciplinary neuro team works together to accomplish these goals. Team members include: a neurologist, neurointerventionalist, neuroradiologist, neurosurgeon, nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, case management, social service, nutrition services, pastoral care services, geriatric clinical nurse specialist, pharmacist, EMS and stroke program coordinator.
The Diamond Stroke Center also has a dedicated stroke committee, which meets every eight weeks to review stroke care and set new goals. This is a dedicated committee to evaluate our processes and outcomes. Members of the committee include: director, Department of Medicine; Stroke director, chief, Division of Neurology; Rehabilitation Medicine physician; Stroke Program coordinator; vice president, Patient Services and chief nursing officer; nurse manager, Stroke Unit; nurse representatives: Stroke Unit, Pharmacy, Performance Improvement and Emergency Trauma center; ETC physicians; neurointerventionalist; radiologist; nurse manager, Catheterization Lab; nurse manager, Surgical Trauma/ICU; and EMS.
The Diamond Stroke Center aligns critical hospital resources for emergency stroke intervention and follow-up. Structural measures of the Diamond Stroke Center include:
- Organized emergency response team/system that responds to stroke as an emergency, with immediate response time, access to specialty care (neurosurgery, neurointerventionalist, neurology and rehabilitation), access to acute pharmacological therapy, clinical trial availability, and critical care availability.
- Organized emergency response system in place to assist other hospitals in the triage and transfer of patients to AMH for acute stroke treatment
- A designated stroke unit, inpatient rehab program, multidisciplinary stroke team, clinical practice guidelines, physician orders, patient quality improvement program.
Process measures include the implementation of secondary stroke prevention (antiplatelet therapy, anticoagulation), acute management of stroke risk factors, evaluation of patient for rehabilitation, evaluation of screening, swallowing, and evaluation of nutritional status, smoking cessation, hyperlipidemia, and screening for depression.
Also included in process measures are practice for the prevention of stroke complications such as DVT prophylaxis, extension of stroke, falls, infection and aspiration. Patient and family education are also embedded within all stroke treatment processes.