March 15, 2019 by John Fernandez
Comprehensive Stroke Center Offers Highest Level of Care (Video)
Caring for stroke victims needs to be prompt and comprehensive to avoid debilitating or even fatal outcomes.
That’s why the Joint Commission, which accredits U.S. healthcare organizations, along with the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, have maintained a unique alliance since 2003 to promote stroke care in hospitals across the nation. (May is Stroke Awareness Month.)
The Joint Commission’s highest level of stroke care — an “Advanced Certification” — is awarded to those hospitals that have specific abilities to receive and treat the most complex stroke cases. More than two years ago, Baptist Hospital joined an elite group of facilities in the United States to be designated by the commission as a Comprehensive Stroke Center.
About half of American adults have at least one risk factor for stroke, including high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and being overweight. Every year, nearly 800,000 people in the U. S. have a stroke. In some cases, survivors are left with paralysis on one side of the body, speech or vision problems or memory loss — and long-term rehabilitation is required. That’s why a designation as a Comprehensive Stroke Center is so vital.
(Video: The Baptist Health South Florida News Team hears from Felipe De Los Rios, M.D., Medical Director, Stroke Program at Baptist Health Neuroscience Center, about the highest level of stroke care. Video by Steve Pipho.)
“Stroke care can be quite complicated and therapies have to be delivered fast. Because of that, there are certifications that a hospital can apply for,” says Felipe De Los Rios, M.D., Medical Director, Stroke Program at Baptist Health Neuroscience Center. “We have everything in place to manage both simple and very complex stroke cases.”
To achieve its status as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, Baptist Hospital underwent a rigorous onsite review by Joint Commission experts. The hospital was shown to have the necessary requirements, such as:
- Highly skilled specialists including neurologists, neurosurgeons and interventional neuro-radiologists;
- Advanced imaging capabilities;
- 24/7 availability of a neuro-intensive care unit with dedicated beds for stroke patients;
- A clinical staff with the unique education and competencies to care for patients with the most complex cases of stroke.
Comprehensive Stroke Centers also have to meet minimum requirements for providing care to patients with a diagnosis of subarachnoid hemorrhage, this is bleeding in the brain caused by the rupture of an aneurysm. This condition frequently leads to permanent brain damage or death if not treated promptly.
The Center also has to be able to perform endovascular coiling or surgical clipping procedures for aneurysms; and administer tPA (tissue plasminogen activator), a clot-busting drug used to treat ischemic strokes, which represent nearly 90 percent of stroke cases. Ischemic strokes occur as a result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain.