May is Stroke Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness about stroke or “brain attack.”
A stroke occurs when the blood flow to an area of the brain is interrupted. This interruption kills brain cells in the immediate area and sets off a chain reaction that endangers a larger area of brain cells. When brain cells die, abilities controlled by that area of the brain are lost or impaired. A stroke is a medical emergency that requires the fastest diagnosis and treatment possible.
Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center neurologist Kathleen A. Ward, DO, stresses the importance of seeking immediate medical attention when exhibiting symptoms of stroke. “It is critical to visit the nearest emergency room if you think you’re having a stroke. We need to quickly diagnose the stroke and start treatment to prevent any further brain cell loss. The best place for you to be if you’re having a stroke is the hospital.”
Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center is the hub of the Covenant Health stroke network – the region’s only stroke hospital network for delivering advanced diagnostics and treatment to halt the devastating effects of stroke.
Dr. Ward, who joined Covenant Health in 2019, says she is proud to be a part of the stroke-certified hospital network. “Our team is ready to provide life-saving care if you or your loved one suffers a stroke.”
Fort Sanders Regional has been awarded The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Heart-Check mark as part of the hospital’s advanced certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. This means Fort Sanders Regional is part of an elite group of providers focused on complex and highly specialized stroke care.
Requirements for Comprehensive Stroke Center certification include advanced imaging, 24/7 availability of specialized treatment including medications and interventional procedures, and staff who are trained to care for complex stroke patients.
Fort Sanders Regional offers advanced interventions like thrombectomy and embolectomy (removal of a blood clot from the brain), which can result in rapid improvements for many stroke patients.
Recent data show that three out of four stroke patients at Fort Sanders Regional are able to walk out of the hospital without a need for assistive devices.
Rebuilding Quality of Life at PNRC
For those patients who do need rehab services after a stroke, Fort Sanders Regional is home to the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center, which holds multiple accreditations for stroke rehabilitation. The combination of rapid stroke diagnosis and treatment, along with resources for rehabilitation and recovery, makes Fort Sanders Regional the area’s only comprehensive stroke and rehabilitation center.
PNRC’s stroke rehabilitation team includes physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, rehab psychologists, nursing staff, case managers, recreation therapists and physiatrists (physicians who specialize in rehabilitation). The Center utilizes treatment plans that involve both the patient and family in goal setting, therapy and education.
To learn more about the region’s only Comprehensive Stroke and Rehabilitation Center, visit FSRegional.com/Stroke.
Award-Winning Stroke Care
Designated Comprehensive Stroke and Rehabilitation Center
Fort Sanders Regional is recognized by The Joint Commission as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. This means we’re part of an elite group of health care providers dedicated to complete, highly-specialized stroke care. We have the training, staff, and technology to receive and treat patients with the most complex strokes. We are home to the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center, East Tennessee’s elite rehabilitation hospital for stroke, spinal cord and brain injury patients. PRNC is our region’s only stroke rehabilitation center accredited by CARF, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.
Fort Sanders Regional has received the American Heart Association/American Stoke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement. This designation means that we continue to be part of an elite group of providers focused on complex and highly specialized stroke care.