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The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association has announced a statewide commitment of $5.6 million for its Mission: Lifeline Stroke initiative to expand and enhance stroke care in North Dakota.

hero_image_alt_text===American Heart Association staff and Advocates
thumbnail_alt_text===American Heart Association staff and advocates

The foundation of the new initiative is a three-year grant of $4.3 million from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. Mission: Lifeline is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s community-based initiative to develop systems of care to improve outcomes for heart attack and stroke patients. These systems bring together hospitals, emergency medical services and first responders, communications and regulatory agencies, state and local government and payers to provide a seamless plan of action to treat patients from the time of stroke onset through their rehabilitation and recovery process.

Mission: Lifeline Stroke specifically focuses on connecting all the components of acute stroke care into a smoothly integrated system that reinforces the use of evidence-based guidelines to timely and effectively treat stroke patients.

“This initiative represents a significant investment in North Dakota’s stroke system of care, especially in our rural areas,” said Mylynn Tufte, North Dakota State Health Officer. “We are grateful to the Helmsley Charitable Trust for its commitment to important, lifesaving services to our citizens through the generous support for this program.”

Cardiovascular disease, including heart and stroke conditions, is the leading cause of death in the United States. The acute nature of heart attacks and strokes are particularly deadly and require time-sensitive treatment to save lives and reduce lasting disability. In rural areas, long distances to healthcare make timely treatment an even greater challenge.

This is the latest in a series of Mission: Lifeline investments by the Helmsley Charitable Trust that use a system of care model for acute cardiac and stroke care.  “We believe that a comprehensive approach is the best way to ‘move the needle’, especially for rural populations that face longer transit times and limited access to specialists,” said Walter Panzirer, trustee for the Helmsley Charitable Trust.

Mission: Lifeline Stroke will build upon the gains achieved in the past 10 years of successful work by the existing North Dakota Stroke Task Force by further strengthening the collaboration with stakeholders across the state representing hospitals, individual ambulance services, the North Dakota Department of Health and others. The project will enhance many critical elements of an optimal stroke system of care, including:

  • A system-wide data tool to assess protocols used throughout the continuum of care;
  • Coordination of treatment guidelines for EMS and hospital personnel;
  • Regional plans for rapid transport and/or inter-facility transfer of patients;
  • Strategies for reducing barriers to access and quality of telemedicine and rehab care;
  • Development of a rural peer to peer stroke survivor support network; and
  • A public education campaign focused recognition of stroke signs and symptoms and the need to activate the 9-1-1 system.

For photos from the event CLICK HERE.

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