Edenton and Windsor hospitals are stroke care certified

Published 6:07 pm Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in North Carolina, and early recognition and treatment are critical in reducing that figure.

Vidant Chowan Hospital in Edenton and Vidant Bertie Hospital in Windsor were recently certified as Acute Stroke Ready by The Joint Commission, Brian Harvill, the hospitals’ president, has announced.

The Joint Commission recognizes hospitals that follow procedures to support better outcomes for stroke care.

To be eligible, hospitals must meet strict standards, including:

  • A dedicated stroke-focused program;
  • Telemedicine availability within 20 minutes of being deemed necessary;
  • Staffing by qualified medical professionals trained in stroke care;
  • Transfer protocols in place with a primary stroke or a comprehensive stroke center for the continuation of care;
  • Qualified practitioner assessment of a suspected stroke patient within 15 minutes of arrival;
  • Streamlined flow of patient information while protecting patient rights, security and privacy;
  • Rapid diagnostic imaging and laboratory testing to expedite the administration of clot-busting medication in eligible patients; and,
  • Use of data to assess and continually improve quality of care for stroke patients.

Early recognition is key and can be lifesaving, Harville stated, yet patients frequently ignore symptoms and often seek care hours after the initial symptoms begin.

“Vidant Bertie and Vidant Chowan staff members provide free stroke screenings in the communities we serve, and offer stroke symptom education to both adults and children,” he explained. “Many times, children are the first to recognize stroke signs in parents or grandparents.”

“This [certification] has been an important and exciting journey for the hospitals, and we are extremely proud of our team members for achieving this significant milestone in providing stoke care,” Harvill said. “Vidant Chowan and Vidant Bertie Hospitals are confident that becoming Acute Stroke Ready will improve positive outcomes for stroke victims in the communities we serve.”

The Joint Commission is an independent, not-for-profit organization that accredits and certifies nearly 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. Joint Commission accreditation and certification is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to meeting certain performance standards.

Be sure you know stroke signs that correspond to the FAST acronym:

  • FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
  • ARMS: Does one arm drift downward when you ask the person to raise both arms?
  • SPEECH: Can he or she repeat a simple sentence correctly? Are the words slurred?
  • TIME: If a person shows any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately. Carefully note the time when the first symptoms appeared. This information is critical for treatment decisions.