Guest Blogger: Don Weisman, Hawaii Government Relations Director
Last week’s Sunday Night Football game, during which viewers witnessed Houston Texan’s Coach Gary Kubiak collapse on the field with a trans-ischemic stroke (TIA, or temporary stroke) brought focus to one of the American Heart Association’s/American Stroke Association’s policy focuses to improve Hawaii’s stroke system of care.
At the centerpiece of those efforts in Hawaii is ongoing work to establish a state stroke registry, into which all hospitals treating stroke patients would share their stroke patient data. Having a central data registry for stroke would allow policy and health community leaders to better assess needs for improvement in Hawaii’s stroke system of care, and to identify how and where current efforts to improve the system are working. A State Stroke Task Force, consisting of representatives from Hawaii hospitals, Emergency Medical System (EMS) agencies, the American Stroke Association, the State Legislature and other interested parties, are convening in monthly meetings to work toward improvements in the state system of care. The creation of that Task Force is the result of a State legislative resolution passed earlier this year with the help of AHA You’re The Cure advocates like you.
You also play another important role in improving the state stroke system of care. While the Task Force is focused on improving communication and response times for EMS and hospitals to appropriately treat stroke following research-based best practices, those improvements will only be fully realized if the public first recognizes stroke warning signs in stroke patients and calls 9-1-1. Stroke survival and improved recovery is largely dependent on timely action. To help the public be better aware of those warning signs and actions, the American Stroke Association is promoting the acronym “F.A.S.T.” I encourage you to click on the F.A.S.T. link provided to learn more about how you can be prepared to respond should you witness a stroke, or suffer the symptoms yourself.