Rapid response means better outcomes for eastside stroke and heart attack patients
Prevention: The best option
- Learn the signs of stroke—Use the FAST system >>
- Start moving—An inactive lifestyle can set you up for heart disease
- Choose to eat healthier—Cut back on fats and get plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains to reduce high cholesterol.
- Give up smoking—Twenty percent of all heart-disease related deaths in the U.S. are directly related to smoking.
Strokes and heart attacks—they’re serious business. With both, a rapid response is critical, and that’s what patients get at Community Hospital East. Why waste precious time going elsewhere when state-of-the-art, life-saving care is available right in your neighborhood?
Community Hospital East has been certified as a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission, a healthcare accrediting and quality monitoring agency. That means it meets criteria for excellent care such as having a physician see the patient within 10 minutes of arrival and obtaining blood work and CAT scan results within 45 minutes.
Quickly diagnosing a stroke and its cause is key to determining the treatment. If the stroke is caused by a blood clot, physicians can administer tPA, a clot-busting medicine used to reverse strokes, within three hours from the onset of the stroke. Administering the drug quickly can make a big difference in recovery.
“We practice how to make our times better, and how to take better care of stroke patients,” said Deb Ferguson, MSN, R.N., Neuroscience CNS. “That’s why it’s so important for individuals who think they are having a stroke to come to Community East. They’ll receive highly coordinated care, and we can give them the best evidence-based care here.”
“All of our stroke focus is on continuing to move forward—continuing to provide better care for our patients.”
—Deb Ferguson, MSN, R.N., Neuroscience CNS
Recently the stroke team received a bronze Performance Achievement Award from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, for exceeding performance measurements over a 90-day period. Community East’s stroke care team includes everyone who touches patients—from the hostess who delivers patients’ meals to the volunteer who greets patients. They all receive training so they can recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke. The entire team looks out for the patients—not just the physicians and nurses.
Taking successful outcomes to heart
Community East’s cardiac care team beats the clock when it matters most—when a patient is having a heart attack. Guidelines established by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology call for clot-dissolving medication to be administered within 30 minutes or less of the patient’s arrival in the emergency department. Ninety minutes or less is the time to aim for when opening an artery and inserting a balloon or stent.
“At Community East our average door-to-balloon time is 70 minutes—well below the national standard,” said Don B. Ziperman, M.D., cardiologist and medical director Community East. “Because of that, our patients are set up to have better outcomes long-term—fewer deaths and complications such as heart failure or arrhythmias.”
This didn’t happen by accident. Community East’s emergency department restructured its entire response system to shave off minutes at every step of the process.
Within the first five minutes of the patient’s arrival the EKG is administered and a heart attack diagnosed. The on-call cardiologist and the catheterization lab are immediately notified, and the ER physician communicates the patient’s status while the on-call cardiologist is en route to the hospital. “All those are little things,” Ziperman said. “But all those little parts add up to a large change.”
Besides a rapid response, Ziperman credits the immediate accessibility of patient information via an advanced electronic medical record system and a community focus for making Community East cardiac care light years ahead. “Dr. Robin Ledyard, our president, has been very active in reaching out to the eastside community and educating them about the need for rapid action,” he said.