By ASHLEY INGE
ERATH COUNTY (November 15, 2018) – Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville is now the first stroke facility in Erath County after recently earning designation as a Level III support stroke facility by the Texas Department of State Health Services.
“Hard work and dedication made this goal come to fruition,” said Christie Hershey, R.N., Texas Health Stephenville’s stroke coordinator in the press release. “We’re all about offering quality care to our patients and their family members, and this designation definitely validates the continued commitment to excellence by our employees and physicians on the medical staff.”
Before the hospital earned the designation, the Texas Department of State Health Services reviewed six months of hospital data to confirm that Texas Health Stephenville adhered to current clinical stroke care guidelines. The hospital also completed an extensive on-site survey to verify proper use of its stroke protocols and so Texan Health Stephenville could earn its two-year designation.
There are three levels of stroke centers: level I, which is a comprehensive stroke center; level II, which is a primary stroke facility/center; and level III, which is an acute stroke-ready hospital.
According to the Texas Health Stephenville press release, facilities seeking Level III designation must also possess the proper equipment and key personnel, which includes a stroke medical director – who is a physician on the hospital medical staff – and a stroke nurse coordinator, needed to assess, resuscitate and stabilize stroke victims and provide treatment or immediate transfer to a higher-level stroke center.
“Texas Health Stephenville recently purchased a 64-slice CT scanner for its Imaging Department. Protocols have been established to perform brain-imaging exams within seconds,” Hershey said. “This specific scanner is also designed with dose-reduction software. These features not only provide brain images quickly for physician review, but it may even reduce patient radiation exposure up to 60 percent.”
Hershey said that each year, Texas Health Stephenville has between 80 and 100 individuals that visit the hospital with stroke or stroke-like symptoms.
“According to the American Stroke Association, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, someone dies of a stroke every four minutes, and nearly 800,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year. We want patients and their loved ones to know we’re committed to developing individualized care plans to help create positive outcomes in stroke treatment and recovery for people entering through our doors,” Hershey said.
Hershey advises that individuals use an acronym, known as BE FAST, to recognize the common signs of a stroke:
Balance – Look for sudden loss of balance
Eyes – Look for sudden, blurred or double vision, along with any continued vision concerns
Face – Look for one or both sides of the face drooping
Arms – Look for weakness or numbness in the arms
Speech – Listen for slurred or garbled speech
Time – Call 911 and seek immediate medical attention if you notice one or more of these signs (and note when they start)
Some factors that can be controlled include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Irregular heartbeat
- Alcohol and drug abuse
“The designation affirms we’re providing quality care using stroke care guidelines,” said Christopher Leu, Texas Health Stephenville’s hospital president in the press release. “Every 40 seconds someone in the U.S. has a stroke, and we want individuals to know we are here for them before, during and after a medical emergency. Because of these statistics, we look forward to doing more education and outreach in the community to increase awareness about stroke prevention, symptoms and treatment.”
Along with Texas Health Stephenville, more than 15 facilities across Texas are designated as Level III support stroke facilities. Texas has more than 110 Level II primary stroke facilities and over 25 Level I stroke centers — the highest level of stroke care possible. Both Texas Health Dallas and Texas Health Fort Worth are designated as Level I comprehensive stroke centers.
“The care we provide to patients hasn’t changed. This designation simply affirms we’re providing quality care using stroke care guidelines,” Hershey added.
Hershey also added “if any community organizations or educational groups want to know more about stroke awareness, please reach out [me]. I’m happy to coordinate educational presentations within the community.”
For more information, you can contact Hershey at ChristieHershey@TexasHealth.org or call 254-965-8493.