Saving lives one stroke at a time
On average, the emergency departments at Lakes Region General Hospital (LRGH) and Franklin Regional Hospital (FRH) will see one patient a week who's showing signs of stroke. When a patient presents with symptoms of stroke, time is of the essence. The quicker the patient can be treated, the better the outcome can be.
The good news is LRGHealthcare has a partner in Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and their TeleNeurology Program. While LRGHealthcare has highly skilled neurologists here, having MGH just a live video conference away, saves precious time in getting the patient the care they need in record time versus awaiting the local neurologist who may need to suddenly leave their busy practices and the patients who depend on them.
With the MGH TeleNeurology Program, vital time is saved thanks to their TeleNeurology team that's readily available to LRGHealthcare providers at any given time to consult on cases of stroke, seizure, or cord compression. Until the local neurologist arrives, a specialist at MGH, through a live video conference, can examine the patient and their CT scans allowing him/her to consult with the patient, the LRGHealthcare provider, and the patient's family. The time saving is critical in achieving better outcomes for the patient. Through this process, they can determine the most appropriate course of treatment whether the patient is a candidate for the drug TPA, needs standard managed care, or should be transferred to MGH.
The program has been in place hospital wide at both LRGH and FRH just over two years now and has been incredibly successful. In its first year (March 2014 to March 2015), 26 patients at LRGH and four at FRH were treated using this program. But, in its second year (March 2015 to March 2016), those numbers took a big jump to 95 at LRGH and 26 at FRH. That's 151 stroke patients who received treatment in record time because of the teamwork of the LRGHealthcare providers, LRGHealthcare Radiology Department, and the MGH and LRGHealthcare neurologists.
Also noteworthy is that 76 percent of these patients were able to remain at LRGH or FRH, therefore allowing them to be close to home and avoiding any unnecessary transfers. The program brings state of the art neurological care to the Lakes Region and patients can expect the same quality care at LRGH and FRH as they would expect at MGH. The MGH TeleNeurology Program is vastly improving stroke patients' chances for best outcomes and minimal long-term effects.
Don't forget the signs of stroke should it happen to you or a loved one...
F – Face Dropping – Ask the person to smile. Is it uneven?
A – Arm Weakness – Is one arm numb or weak? Raise both arms and watch for one to slowly drop down.
S – Speech Difficulty – Is their speech slurred? Can they repeat a simple sentence clearly and remember it?
T – Time to call 911! – If someone shows ANY of these signs, call 911 immediately – even if the symptoms go away. Remember to check the time as well so you know when the symptoms first appeared.