A Team Approach to Stroke


​A Team Approach to Stroke

If you or someone close to you experiences a stroke, it is critical that they call 911 to begin receiving medical care as quickly as possible. Parkview’s continuum of stroke services begins when patients arrive at one of our emergency departments for initial diagnosis and treatment. The clot-busting medication tPA may be administered by the team, or a neurointerventional procedure may be performed. Depending on severity of a stroke, individuals will then receive care in an intensive care unit or inpatient medical rehabilitation unit. These components work together along with the talents of the nationally recognized stroke team at the Parkview Stanley Wissman Stroke Center.

Patients at the Parkview Stanley Wissman Stroke Center receive care from a diverse stroke team, including:

  • Neurologists

  • Neurosurgeons

  • Primary care physicians

  • Hospitalists

  • Emergency medicine staff

  • Interventional radiology staff

  • Physicians specializing in 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

  • Pharmacists

  • Chaplains

  • Certified rehabilitation registered nurses

  • Physical and occupational therapists 

  • Speech pathologists

  • Case managers and social workers

Neurointerventional stroke treatment

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 a neurointerventionalist are even more effective for patients when paired with Parkview’s 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.

Remote diagnosis and the StrokeCareNow Network

Generally, patients who are having 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. As a healthcare referral center for northeast Indiana, southern Michigan and northwest Ohio, Parkview often treats stroke patients who have been transported from other communities.

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 Health Network 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. The StrokeCareNow Network helps speed diagnosis and treat strokes quickly so patients have better chances for recovery.

Learn about the stroke care provided in Parkview’s inpatient rehabilitation center.

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.

Support groups

Patients are connected with support groups that can provide vital emotional support, social opportunities and shared tips on lifestyle adjustments.

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