National Stroke Awareness Month is observed in the United States every year during May. This month aims to create public awareness about stroke risk factors and to lessen the occurrence of stroke in the U.S. A stroke is a medical condition where poor blood flow to the brain results in cell death. There are two main types of stroke — ischemic stroke, which occurs due to lack of blood flow, and hemorrhagic stroke, which occurs due to bleeding. Both conditions cause parts of the brain to stop functioning properly. A stroke happens in America every 40 seconds, and someone dies of it every four minutes. (National Today, 2023)
When it comes to stroke, “time is brain.” Following a stroke, millions of nerve cells die every minute. Delays in treatment can be devastating. Stroke is a leading cause of death and long-term disability in the United States. Rapid evaluation is crucial for optimizing outcomes for stroke patients. Unfortunately, most communities don’t have access to 24-hour vascular neurology expertise.
At Wickenburg Community Hospital (WCH), we strive to provide the highest quality of stroke care possible in this rural setting. WCH has partnered with the Petznick Stroke Center at Barrow Neurological Institute to improve access to vascular neurology expertise 24/7 through the Barrow Telestroke Program. Telestroke technology enables vascular neurologists to perform physical and neurological examinations via video and review medical imaging remotely. The neurologist can determine the type of stroke, recommend the best course of treatment, assist in initiating treatment and transferring the patient to a higher level of care when appropriate. This service vastly expands the opportunity for treating stroke patients, improving outcomes and saving lives.
The Petznick Stroke Center is a Joint Commission-certified Comprehensive Stroke Center, with additional accolades including a 2022 Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award and a Target: Stroke Honor Roll Award from the American Heart/American Stroke Association. Barrow’s Telestroke Program offers around-the-clock access to subspecialty board-certified neurologists for hospital-based emergency departments and freestanding emergency rooms. Their partner facilities can connect to the on-call specialist at any time, who will assess patients and review their brain imaging results immediately after completion.
Wickenburg Community Hospital encourages you help educate your community and don a purple ribbon during the month of May as it symbolizes stroke awareness. Keeping a healthy lifestyle and allowing your primary care provider to monitor your health conditions through preventative care like cholesterol checks, controlling blood pressure, treating any heart disease, managing a health weight and level of activity can help minimize chances of experiencing a stroke. Work with your provider to see if you are at risk. If you do experience an emergency and suspect it is stroke related, please don’t wait. Get help immediately.