What a Level Three Emergency Stroke Center Means for You
Did you know in 2014 Oklahoma was ranked ninth in the nation for deaths from a stroke? Stroke was Oklahoma’s fifth leading cause of death equating to the passing of 1,800 Oklahomans.
Did you know Jefferson County Hospital is now a Level Three Emergency Stroke Center? What does this mean for you? There are four distinct Stroke Center levels. Level One being the most comprehensive where Level Four, the least complex, is essentially where the patient is diagnosed and transferred.
The clinical staff, including physicians and nursing, participated in stroke-specific training classes. The training focused on stroke signs and symptoms, how to perform a FAST exam when to administer the clot-busting drug TPA, the establishment of stroke protocols, and interaction with Integris Health Telestroke program personnel. The upgrade of the CT scanner, from a single slice to sixteen slices, was significant in our ability to move from a Level Four to a Level Three.
A FAST exam is:
Face – look for an uneven smile
Arm – check if one arm is weak
Speech – listen for slurred speech
Time – call 911 right away
Managing a patient with stroke symptoms requires teamwork and communication with our local ambulance service and JCH clinical staff. During a suspected stroke scenario time is a very precious commodity. The more time passes the higher potential for a poor outcome.
Participation in the Integris Telestroke program was essential with our being designated a Level Three stroke center. Jefferson County Hospital was able to join the Telestroke program through our affiliation with Duncan Regional Hospital. This program incorporates a real-time, high definition video camera and monitor which connects immediately to an Integris neurologist. Collaboration between the Integris and JCH physicians means real-time neurological exams for faster life-saving treatment.
The Jefferson County Hospital team has treated three stroke cases with each having a positive outcome. Achieving Level Three stroke status required many hours of training, protocols, and validation by the Integris Telestroke program.
The relationship of Duncan Regional Hospital and Jefferson County Hospital allows us to achieve our collective vision, “To earn the trust of our patients and their families…..every day”.