A team approach
Patients at the Parkview Stanley Wissman Stroke Center receive care from a stroke team representing many Parkview Regional Medical Center departments and health fields. These medical professionals include:
- Primary care physician
- Emergency Medicine staff
- Interventional Radiology staff
- Physicians specializing in neurosurgery, cardiology, neuroradiology, psychology and other related fields
- Registered nurses/licensed practical nurses
- Critical care nurses specifically trained in neurology and stroke
- Laboratory staff
- Radiology staff
- Certified rehabilitation registered nurses
- Physical and occupational therapists
- Speech pathologists
- Case managers and social workers
The advancement of stroke treatment: Neurointervention
Parkview Stanley Wissman Stroke Center brought the region’s first neurointerventionalist to the area in 2007 to enable patients with complex cerebrovascular conditions to receive cutting-edge stroke treatment without having to travel to a university hospital hundreds of miles away. Often, when a patient is still experiencing a stroke, the neurointerventionalist and team can intervene with minimally invasive surgical procedures to remove the blockage in an affected artery and restore blood flow to oxygen-starved parts of the brain. In other cases, special medications may be administered to dissolve a blood clot.
The skills of the gifted neurointerventionalist are even more effective for patients when paired with Parkview’s new biplane angiography suite. This multi-directional radiology imaging system enables the physician to deliver “clot-busting” medication directly to the site of a stroke in the brain, remove the clot from the blocked blood vessel using a specialized device and/or put a stent in place to ensure that blood flow returns to the brain area affected by the stroke. Parkview’s biplane is one of the most sophisticated systems available today.
The Parkview Research Center has been in the thick of stroke research since 1993, contributing to national studies and investigating clot-busting drugs and types of stents. Stroke center patients benefit from innovations and are able to participate in new studies.
Rehabilitation following stroke
Parkview rehabilitation professionals – 15 of whom are now certified by the Academy of Certified Brain Injury Specialists – assess available therapies and assistive equipment on an ongoing basis, incorporating new choices into patients’ personalized treatment plans. For instance, patients have the opportunity to boost function in weakened arms and legs with small, lightweight equipment by a leading manufacturer of advanced-technology assistive devices.
Patients are connected with support groups that can provide vital emotional support, social opportunities and shared tips on lifestyle adjustments.
Education is the most powerful means of preventing strokes and reducing stroke-related deaths and disabilities. Stroke center staff members work to educate the general public, especially people who are at higher risk for stroke due to their genetic background, age or lifestyle. In addition, the staff educates physicians, EMS professionals and other medical specialists. The stroke center hosts an annual symposium to promote awareness of treatment advances and discuss topics of particular interest to those who provide care for individuals affected by neurological issues.
Remote diagnosis and the StrokeCareNow Network
As a healthcare referral center for northeast Indiana, southern Michigan and northwest Ohio, Parkview often treats stroke patients who have been transported from smaller communities. In many cases, if patients had received treatment early during their stroke episodes, disabilities might have been prevented or lessened. Precious time can elapse before a person:
- Recognizes he or she is having a stroke and/or remembers the “FAST” acronym in Act FAST
- Calls 9-1-1
- Arrives at the hospital
- Receives an assessment of his or her condition by a physician
- Receives treatment to address the stroke or is transported to a stroke-certified medical facility
To shorten the time between a patient’s arrival at a hospital and the administration of measures to stop the stroke, Parkview and Fort Wayne Neurological Center spearheaded the creation of the StrokeCareNow Network, which was born in partnership with Lutheran Hospital early in 2009.
StrokeCareNow Network is an alliance of 22 hospitals using telemedicine to deliver faster diagnosis and treatment for patients with stroke or vascular diseases of the brain. Each hospital in the network receives a telemedicine “robot” developed by Parkview Health Information Technology specialists. Using the unit’s high-quality two-way video and audio system, the attending physician at a community hospital can examine the patient on site and consult instantaneously with Fort Wayne neurologists.
Because physicians in both locations can view and assess the patient and talk in real-time, they can make lifesaving treatment decisions together in minutes. If the patient needs to be transferred to Parkview Stanley Wissman Stroke Center or another facility, the transfer is set in motion immediately, minimizing the time from assessment to treatment.
In 2011, the StrokeCareNow Network performed 230 telemedicine consults. Generally, patients who have had a stroke have a window of only three hours from symptom onset in which they can receive tPA (a clot-busting medication) to prevent drastic neurological impairments. One of every four stroke patients (24 percent) evaluated through the network in 2011 received tPA, compared to only four to six percent of stroke patients nationally – evidence of the enhanced level of care available to patients in the northeast Indiana – northwest Ohio – southern Michigan area.
Making the grade for excellent care
HealthGrades®, the national healthcare quality assessment organization, has recognized the Parkview Stanley Wissman Stroke Center for achievement in care. The center was:
- One of HealthGrades America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Stroke Care™ in 2012
- Recipient of the HealthGrades Stroke Care Excellence Award™ for 4 Years in a Row (2009-2012)
- Ranked Among the Top 5% in the Nation for Treatment of Stroke for 4 Years in a Row (2009-2012)
- Five-Star Rated for Treatment of Stroke for 8 Years in a Row (2005-2012)
- Ranked #2 in Indiana for Treatment of Stroke in 2012
- Rated Best in the Fort Wayne area for stroke treatment (2008 – 2012)
In addition, the center received the Gold Performance Achievement Award for 2011 from The Joint Commission and American Heart Association (AHA)/American Stroke Association’s (ASA) Get With The GuidelinesSM program for greater than 85 percent compliance with seven Core Measures related to quality of stroke intervention, care and treatment over the past 24 consecutive months. Parkview Stanley Wissman Stroke Center was the only provider in the region to receive this recognition.
HealthGrades® is a registered trademark of HealthGrades, Inc.