Stroke Coordinator Denise Kistler, RN, will never forget the despair she saw in eyes of 83-year-old Walter Brems as he struggled to talk to her in the Emergency Department. When asked his name, he could not form the words to answer. Tears streamed down his face as he feared what this might mean.
Walter’s morning began like most others. He drove to the gym for his daily workout. As he pulled his car into the parking lot, everything suddenly went wrong. He found himself unable to speak or move the right side of his body. A passerby noticed Walter behind the wheel, staring blankly ahead. The stranger called 911, and the medic contacted Grand View's Emergency Department, where staff immediately set Grand View’s stroke care protocol into motion.
The Stroke Team assembled prior to Walter's arrival at Grand View. “Our staff is skilled in recognizing the symptoms of a stroke and reacting quickly,” said Richard Buckler, MD, medical director of the Stroke Program. We often provide patients with Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA), a drug that can dissolve blockages in the blood vessels when administered within three hours after the start of a stroke.
Every second counts. At the start of one's treatment, the Stroke Team is already planning for the hospital stage of a patient's recovery. We educate patients and their families and watch patients closely for changes in their condition so we can prevent further problems. Patients receive testing to determine the cause of the stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA or mini stroke). This allows us to provide treatment to reduce the chance a stroke will happen again. Our physical, occupational and speech therapists evaluate patients to create a rehabilitation plan.
The fact is each person’s ability to recover from stroke is unique. The sooner rehabilitation begins, the more likely an individual will benefit. Before sending patients home, we help them align services they need to continue recovery, such as outpatient physical therapy.
source: Annual Report 2008
Walter, for example, received speech therapy through Grand View’s Home Care Department. Walter was fortunate. He has completely recovered from his stroke neurologically. "Grand View Hospital is my favorite," Walter said. “I liked this hospital even before I had the stroke. I came back to tell everyone ‘thank you.’”