Fremont, Calif. – Timely and effective treatment of stroke can mean the difference
between serious disability and an active lifestyle, between returning
home and living in a long-term nursing facility – and even between
life and death.
That is why to ensure the best possible patient outcomes, the Stroke Program
at Washington Hospital, part of the Taylor McAdam Bell Neuroscience Institute,
offers the most current approach to treating stroke patients, using the
“Our Stroke Program draws on the skill and expertise of professionals
throughout the hospital,” according to Dr. Ash Jain, cardiologist
and medical director of Washington Hospital’s Stroke Program. “The
program has been developed to take into account every stage of care, from
the moment emergency medical services (EMS) responders reach the patient.”
Recently, Washington Hospital’s Stroke Program received the Silver
Performance Achievement Award as part of the American Stroke Association’s
(ASA) Get With The Guidelines-Stroke (GWTG-Stroke) program, a national
evidence-based initiative to improve stroke patients’ outcomes.
The ASA program recognizes hospitals across the country whose stroke treatment
programs have shown consistent compliance with measures proven to improve outcomes.
When a patient arrives in Washington Hospital’s Emergency Room with
a potential stroke, doctors and specially trained stroke nurses are ready
24 hours a day to quickly diagnose and begin treatment focused on evidence-based,
scientifically researched standards of care, which have been shown to
result in improved clinical outcomes.
“Physicians and nurses have developed protocols to make sure that
this group of patients gets prompt attention in the emergency room,”
Dr. Jain says.
To properly diagnose and treat patients, a number of tests must be run
quickly and efficiently. Dr. Jain credits the hospital’s Laboratory
Services and Medical Imaging departments for ensuring that treating physicians
have results as promptly as possible.
“At this stage of care, the neurologists make sure that patients
receive appropriate treatment,” says Dr. Jain. “They come
in at any time, day or night to evaluate and treat stroke patients. Without
them the program would not exist.”
Should an emergency arise, Washington Hospital Medical Staff neurologists
Dr. Prabhjot Singh Khalsa, Dr. Charan Singh and Dr. Ravinder Kahlon are
on-call to evaluate and treat stroke patients in a short window of time.
“There is a three-hour treatment window from onset of stroke symptoms,”
Dr. Kahlon says. “Once the patient is in the ER, medical evaluation
has to be done fast; then the neurologist is called to see if the patient
is a candidate for tPA administration.”
Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is a thrombolytic agent more commonly
known as a clotbusting drug. The drug can dissolve blood clots, which
cause most heart attacks and strokes. Though very effective in certain
cases, tPA must be administered within a very short timeframe, which makes
timely evaluation of patients by a neurologist crucial.
“We can be called into the hospital any time of the night or day;
we are on-call for that purpose,” Dr. Kahlon says. “After
admission in the hospital, we follow the patient on a daily basis for
reevaluation and to plan for follow-up treatment. The neurologist’s
role begins in the ER and then continues if the patient is admitted to
the hospital, as well as dealing with the family members because stroke
not only affects the patient but also the family.” According to
Dr. Singh, Washington Hospital has adopted a very aggressive approach
to stroke education and rehabilitation.
“The stroke team comprising of the neurologist, stroke RN and nurses
on certain floors are all specially trained toward educating the patient
and their family about stroke,” she says. “Rehabilitation
is the next major step toward recovery and all our stroke patients receive
intensive rehabilitation from the hospital.”
Dr. Kahlon credits a greater community awareness of the signs and symptoms
of stroke to the Stroke Program’s quarterly Stroke Education Series,
as well as continuous programming on the hospital’s cable channel,
InHealth, which is broadcast on Comcast Channel 78.
“The hospital’s emphasis on the importance of stroke awareness
in the community has been vital,” Dr. Kahlon says. “There
are many factors that contribute to better outcomes including early treatment
in the ER and ongoing community stroke education in the form of lectures
and information on the TV channel. We have some patients’ families
who say ‘I know about tPA from the TV channel’ or ‘I
attended a stroke education program.’” “People are more
aware of the signs and symptoms of stroke because of these programs.”
To learn more about stroke care at Washington Hospital, visit www.whhs.com
click on “Services & Programs,” select “Taylor McAdam
Bell Neuroscience Institute” and choose “Stroke Program.”
Washington Hospital Healthcare System includes a 359-bed acute-care hospital;
the Taylor McAdam Bell Neuroscience Institute; The Gamma Knife® Center;
Washington Radiation Oncology Center; Washington Outpatient Surgery Center;
Washington Outpatient Rehabilitation Center; Washington Outpatient Catheterization
Laboratory; Washington Center for Joint Replacement; the Institute for
Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery; and Washington West, a complex
which houses Washington Women’s Center, Outpatient Imaging Center
and additional outpatient hospital services and administrative facilities.