(EFFINGHAM, IL) – HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital was recently designated as an Acute Stroke Ready Hospital by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). IDPH identifies hospitals capable of providing emergent stroke care and directs EMS providers to transport possible acute stroke patients to these hospitals.
Deb Murbarger, director of Emergency Services, Convenient Care and Respiratory, shared, “We are pleased to receive this special designation which recognizes the emergency stroke care policies and procedures we have in place which align with nationally recognized evidence-based standards and criteria. These allow us to appropriately respond to stroke patients immediately upon arrival,” she explained. “Receiving this high-level designation reaffirms our commitment to offering exceptional emergency care to our region.”
Outlined criteria to receive the Acute Stroke Ready Designation includes developing and adhering to written emergency stroke protocols and the ability, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to provide the following:
thrombolytic therapy (tPA) used to break or dissolve blood clots
brain image testing (CT scans) and
blood coagulation studies
Additionally, St. Anthony’s uses telemedicine to help rapidly diagnose possible stroke patients. Since 2015, St. Anthony’s has been partnering with HSHS St. John’s Hospital through their 24/7 tele-stroke program. Through this program, a telemedicine cart and monitor stationed in St. Anthony’s Emergency department is used by physicians to allow a tele-neurologist to examine a patient suffering a stroke to help expedite treatment decisions, reduce disability, help many patients avoid unnecessary transfers, and ultimately save lives.
Murbarger encourages all community members to learn how to spot a stroke and “ACT F.A.S.T.” as “time is brain” with a stroke, meaning beginning treatment as quickly as possible is critical to ensuring the best possible outcomes. Signs and symptoms of stroke include:
sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
sudden difficulty seeing in one or both eyes, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, sudden severe headache with no known cause.
Follow this F.A.S.T. acronym if someone is exhibiting any of the above symptoms:
FACE – Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
ARMS – Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
SPEECH– Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
TIME – If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.