Stroke is a medical emergency that requires early assessment and treatment by specialists. It’s the No. 4 cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of disability. Identifying stroke patients rapidly allows for the timely administration of effective treatments shown to improve patient outcomes.
Treating acute stroke patients with thrombolytics – medicine that breaks down blood clots – is key to preventing stroke-related disability and improving patient outcomes. In fact, treatment with thrombolytics increases the patient’s chance of surviving without disability by 30 percent. However, this type of treatment is only effective if administered within the first few hours from the onset of stroke symptoms. Therefore, expedited evaluation by stroke specialists can lead to improved care.
To continue to improve patient outcomes, on Feb. 18, the MemorialCare Stroke Center at Long Beach Memorial launched TeleStroke – a videoconferencing program that offers 24-hour access to on-call neurological specialists who can help identify and assess stroke patients. The program implemented in the emergency department, allows physicians to identify potential stroke patients and have a specialist diagnose them instantaneously.
“We work to implement fool-proof processes to make sure we don’t miss anything,” says Angie West, program director, MemorialCare Stroke Center, Long Beach Memorial. “TeleStroke is just another strategy we use to improve our patient outcomes.”
If a patient is identified as a candidate for consultation, a TeleStroke mobile unit is brought into the patient’s room, where a neurologist conducts a one-on-one stroke examination with the patient via video chat. The program is designed to allow the patient to speak directly with the specialist, who also evaluates the patient data and reviews any radiological images taken in the emergency department.
Once the evaluation is complete, the specialist can communicate with the patient and care team to determine the best course of treatment and improve outcomes. This innovative program allows the emergency department access to a neurology expert at all times.
Long Beach Memorial is a dedicated Stroke Receiving Center for Los Angeles County – providing patients with advanced treatment options and a highly trained stroke team on-hand 24/7, making fast response times and positive outcomes a reality. The MemorialCare Stroke Center is certified as a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission, which seeks to improve the safety and quality of care provided to the public. The Joint Commission certifies that approved programs like the MemorialCare Stroke Center follow national standards and guidelines to improve outcomes for patients.