When someone you know — a friend or family member — appears
to be suffering a stroke, the most important thing to do is call 9-1-1
immediately. Stroke victims who receive treatment within a narrow window
of a few hours after a suspected stroke have the best chance for a good
recovery, according to Dr. Ash Jain, cardiologist and medical director
of the Washington Hospital Stroke Program.
Dr. Jain and Doug Van Houten R.N., Washington Hospital Stroke Program coordinator,
will discuss “Acute Management of Stroke” and “Chronic
Care and Stroke Rehabilitation” at a free, two-hour evening program
on Tuesday, December 1 beginning at 6 p.m. The stroke education program,
which is open to the public, will be held in the Conrad E. Anderson M.D.
Auditorium, Rooms A & B, at Washington West, 2500 Mowry Avenue, Fremont.
To register for the free seminar, visit www.whhs.com/events, or call 1-800-963-7070.
The seminar is part of an ongoing series of programs, held on the first
Tuesday of each month, which are offered to educate the public about strokes.
The public is encouraged to attend any or all of the programs.
In addition to being the fifth leading cause of death, strokes also are
the primary cause of serious, long-term disability in stroke survivors.
This is why the Stroke Program at Washington Hospital devotes significant
resources and energy to educating the public and working to assist individuals
in the community prevent strokes and to recognize strokes when they occur,
Dr. Jain said.
For stroke victims, the cutting-edge care at a Primary Stroke Center, like
the one at Washington Hospital, is critical to mitigating damage from
a stroke. “Our primary goal is to treat a stroke as quickly as possible
once a patient reaches our Emergency Room,” Dr. Jain explained.
“Time is everything when it comes to effective management of a stroke,” he added.
“Even small delays can have heavy costs and research has shown that
outcomes are better when individual can properly identify signs of a stroke
and then seek help immediately,” Dr. Jain said. “At Washington
Hospital, we strive to improve upon our own timing in assessing patients
and starting treatment — as time is brain.”
The more the community is educated about stroke, the more likely a friend
or family member will recognize a potential stroke and take action, Dr.
Jain said. Quite often it is a family member — not the stroke victim
— who recognizes a stroke and calls 9-1-1. Most importantly, many
of the acute management techniques for stroke are beneficial within a
certain time frame, which means a patient must reach the ER as quickly
Dr. Jain added: “Acute management of stroke is evolving and improving
on a daily basis. Washington Hospital is keeping up with all the advances
taking place and we are improving upon our own results. Management with
some patients now involves going into the arteries and opening them with
stent and re-establishing blood flow. The sooner it is done, the better
After experiencing a stroke, participation in an ongoing rehabilitation
program under the direction of specialized therapists offers stroke victims
some measure of improvement.
“Amazingly, if one survives a stroke, the stroke victim almost always
gets at least somewhat better with appropriate rehabilitation therapy,”
Van Houten said. While nearly every stroke patient can measure some improvement,
stroke recovery is quite complicated because of the stroke’s impact
on the whole patient, Van Houten noted. Rehabilitation activities typically
focus on three main areas of disability:
- Physical: Recovering motor function such as learning to walk again, becoming
independent with activities of daily living, being able to swallow safely.
It also means recovering from cognitive impairment.
- Psychological: This means focusing on “recovery of the self.”
Before a stroke, a person thinks of one’s self as independent, competent
— just like everyone else. Suddenly there may be a loss of independence,
a loss of the “normal” self, of other similar identities.
- Social: A stroke survivor may be confronted with the loss of his/her identity
as a worker, provider, head-of-family, advisor, other functions or activities.
Suddenly the stroke survivor may now find him/herself in the role of a
care-receiver, of being dependent on others and no longer able to work.
“Recovery from a stroke can be a challenge from many different vantage
points,” Van Houten said. “These issues are part of the reason
a stroke can be so disabling.” Rehabilitation is the key to stroke
recovery, Van Houten emphasized. Stroke patients and their caregivers
must take advantage of rehabilitation experts who include physical, occupational
and speech therapists. And, equally important is the will of the stroke
survivor to get better, he added.
Stroke Education Seminars in 2016
- January 5: Stroke Prevention and Other Disease Processes, Healthy Lifestyle
— Be Smart and Avoid Stroke
- February 2: Living with Stroke, Future in Diagnosis and Management
- March 1: Introduction — Stroke, Risk Factors for Stroke
- April 5: Acute Management of Stroke, Chronic Care and Stroke Rehabilitation
- May 3: Stroke Prevention and Other Disease Processes, Healthy Lifestyle
— Be Smart and Avoid Stroke
- June 7: Living with Stroke, Future in Diagnosis and Management
Washington Hospital’s free stroke education seminars take place on
the first Tuesday of each month beginning at 6 p.m. To register, visit
www.whhs.com/events or call 1-800-963-7070.