Stroke is the number one cause of disability and the fourth leading cause of death across the United States and in the District.
Knowing the warning signs of a stroke is vital to a person’s outcome because the moment a stroke hits--the clock starts. Each minute that a stroke is left untreated, two million brain cells are destroyed. This dramatic destruction of brain cells contributes to the loss of major functions and abilities—if not death--in the patient.
How can we fight against stroke and reduce death and disability in our community?
The Stroke System of Care Act of 2014 is a leap forward toward this goal. The stroke bill will create a system of greater coordination of care among those treating stroke patients. This will help to ensure that patients will receive the medical attention they need, in a timely, efficient manner.
For example, greater coordination of care will include emergency responders phoning the hospital the moment they know that someone has had a stroke. This will give doctors time to prepare for the patient’s arrival, so that as soon as the ambulance arrives at the hospital, the doctors will be ready.
The bill also requires hospitals and government to work together to create “transportation protocols” so patients are taken to the hospital best able to care for them, not necessarily to the closest hospital.
These simple steps will do wonders in improving patient outcomes. You may ask, “What difference will a few minutes make—why does it matter if the emergency responders call ahead?” During a stroke, three minutes is all it takes for six million brain cells to be destroyed—this could mean the difference between being able to speak after the stroke, or having to relearn how to. Now isn’t that worth a phone call?
“This is a vital step for connecting the dots,” Dr. Amie Hsia, Medical Director of the MedStar Washington Hospital Center Comprehensive Stroke Center, says. “This is about optimizing the system for the best care of our community. When the medical system follows the proper protocols, we give stroke patients the best chance for a good recovery, and that’s what we‘re here for, first and foremost.“
The stroke bill would give the Department of Health authority to recognize hospitals’ status as a Comprehensive Stroke Center (CSC), Primary Stroke Center (PSC) or an Acute Stroke Ready (ASR), if they have achieved standards by a national accrediting body.
Patients visiting these accredited facilities will have peace of mind knowing that they are being taken care of by top of the line providers following established protocol.
This bill would ensure that hospitals’ quality of care is recognized by the public and emergency responders, and that stroke patients receive the best care at the right hospital. Recognizing this national accreditation is the new seal of quality in D.C.
Click here to voice your support and help pass this bill.
<Special thanks to You're the Cure Advocate/Intern Catherine Christiansen, for her help crafting this blog post>