(Belleville, IL) – HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital recently named Amanda Ernst, BSN, RN, Stroke Coordinator for St. Elizabeth’s Teleneurology Stroke Program. Ernst, a resident of Belleville, previously served the hospital as a critical care RN in the Emergency Department. She has been employed by St. Elizabeth’s for six years.
In the Stroke Coordinator role, Ernst is responsible for developing clinical care standards and appropriate services for stroke care and tracking data, and ensuring compliance with national stroke measures.
Additionally, she aids in rapid response of acute stroke patients and assists with the use of telemedicine to provide comprehensive stroke assessment and treatment.
“It is my honor to serve St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and our region as a leader in acute stroke care,” said Ernst. “I plan to continue building our relationship with the community, and hope that by providing education we help patients get to the hospital quicker, which can improve outcomes after stroke.”
St. Elizabeth’s Hospital has served as an Emergent Stroke Ready Hospital for the region since 2014, as designated by the Illinois Department of Public Health. St. Elizabeth’s was the first hospital in the Metro East to gain this designation. The Emergent Stroke Ready Hospital designation ensures that St. Elizabeth’s Hospital is prepared to adhere to written emergency stroke protocols and is able, 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.
The American Heart Association (AHA) notes that strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, and is one of the most preventable causes of disability.
Ernst additionally stresses that, 80 percent of strokes are preventable by controlling risk factors like smoking, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
“It is important to catch a stroke early, but even more important to prevent strokes all together. Recognizing signs and symptoms of stroke and immediately going to an acute stroke ready facility, like St. Elizabeth’s, can make a difference in the number of treatment options available for stroke patients,’’ said Ernst.
Signs and symptoms of a 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.