Atlantic General Hospital’s Stroke Center received official designation this week from the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) as a Primary Stroke Center. This designation means that Atlantic General has met the requirements put forth by the American Stroke Association (ASA), MIEMSS and the Joint Commission to optimize the quality of care to stroke patients.
Stroke is a significant cause of death and long-term disability in the United States. According to the ASA, roughly 700,000 Americans have a new or recurrent stroke each year. It is the third leading cause of death, after heart disease and cancer, and is the leading cause of long-term disability in this country. These overwhelming statistics led to recommendations for the development of primary stroke centers to care for acute stroke patients.
Treatment during the first three hours of stroke onset is critical to halt its effects on the body. Atlantic General Hospital has created a stroke team, composed of physicians and nursing staff specially trained in stroke care, and integrated the stroke protocols in its emergency department with the hospital’s diagnostic and inpatient clinical services to further streamline treatment. They are also continuing efforts to educate the community. Too often, stroke victims ignore or are unaware of the significance of their symptoms and don’t seek the care they need.
Through generous support from the community during the Foundation’s 2005-2006 annual campaign, Atlantic General Hospital was able to purchase the state-of-the-art Philips Cardiopulmonary Monitoring System, which provides continuous heart and respiratory monitoring in the acute phase of stroke to ensure the best outcomes.
Eventually, ambulance companies transferring stroke patients may be required to bypass hospitals who have not achieved Primary Stroke Center designation in favor of hospitals that do maintain this status.
Atlantic General Hospital provides effective stroke care to more than four thousand community members each year through preventive education, acute care, and rehabilitation services.
“It’s important that stroke victims are able to rely on the care of the hospital that is in their community. Timely, effective care is crucial, and our Primary Stroke Care designation simply reinforces the fact that we can provide that here at Atlantic General Hospital,” said Dr. Nicholas Borodulia, Medical Director for the Stroke Center.
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