Cullman Senior Magazine Summer 2019 - Page 51

Know the Symptoms. Act F.A.S.T. Face droops on one side. Arm drifts downward when raised. Speech is slurred. Time – Call 9-1-1 immediately. “Doctors have a limited amount of time to decide whether to give tPA,” said Dr. Mark Christensen, Medical Director of Cullman Regional Emergency Department. “With the help of the Neu- ro-Stroke Network neurologists, we are able to make that decision confide tly without delay.” Prior to launching the program, Cullman Regional’s emergen- cy room physicians and nurses trained on best practices for neu- rological exams. In the event of a potential stroke, the telestroke cart is wheeled to the patient’s bedside which allows a remote neurologist to see and talk with stroke patients to help Cullman Regional physi- cians determine the plan of care. The program allows Cull- man Regional to provide timely, high-quality stroke care to every stroke patient in our service area. “We’ve been trying to recruit neurologists to our community for several years to provide inpatient hospital care for the patients we serve,” said James Clements, CEO of Cullman Regional. “Unfortu- nately, there aren’t enough neurol- ogists to have one available at all hours at the hospital, so we’re us- ing telemedicine to help improve the quality of stroke care provided to our patients.” Here’s how it works: • When a stroke patient arrives at Cullman Regional emergency room, the staff g thers the pa- tient’s medical history, conducts an initial stroke assessment and orders a CT brain scan which provides detailed images of any potential blood clots, damage or bleeding within the brain. • Day or night, the telestroke cart is wheeled to the patient’s bedside so the remote-neurologist can see and talk to the patient in real time. They are able to assess the patient’s gaze, strength, speech, and ability to understand and communicate. The system also allows the physician to review the CT scan images in order to col- laborate with the emergency room doctors and nurses on a treatment plan. • Following the remote assess- ment, the medical team decides whether to start the patient on tPA. “By becoming a part of the Neuro-Stroke Network, Cullman Regional’s team has gained access to protocols and education for our nurses and staff hat improves the quality of care we are able to pro- vide our patients,” said Dr. Smith. “Previously, any stroke patient had to be transferred out of town for care. By examining patients remotely, the neurologists can now make a more informed decision on whether to transfer the patient to a different facility or to let them receive care closer to home.” Stroke is now the fi h-leading cause of death nationally and the leading cause of serious, long- term disability. Alabamians are particularly at risk due to lifestyle factors such as fried foods and lack of exercise, according to the American Heart Association. Alabama is part of the Stroke Belt – a region of high stroke mortality stretching from Texas to the Carolinas. “We are proud to bring a higher level of care to our patients during a critical time,” said Clements. Preventing a stroke by identify- ing any potential signs or symp- toms is key; therefore Cullman Regional is offering free Stroke Screenings to community mem- bers during April, May and into June in recognition of Stroke Awareness Month. Free Stroke Screenings at Cullman Regional • Thursday, May 9 • Thursday, May 23 • Thursday, June 6 Walk-ins are welcome, appointments are preferred. Call (256) 735-5600 to schedule an appointment or to get additional information. You may also register for our screenings online at event-calendar/ CULLMAN COUNTY SENIOR MAGAZINE SUMMER 2019 | 51