To strengthen stroke care for area residents, Navarro Regional Hospital has adopted the use of tele-neurology. Tele-neurology utilizes an offsite neurologist to support care for those patients who present with the signs of a stroke or those who may need a higher level of medical attention.
With the tele-neurology program, patients suffering from a stroke have a better chance of remaining at Navarro Regional Hospital for treatment, rather than being transferred to another facility. Care closer to home means family and friends do not have to travel for visits, and rehabilitation and therapy can most often be done locally. This improves the quality of care for the patient, improves clinical outcomes and controls costs for acute stroke care.
Onsite clinicians at Navarro can now consult with board certified neurologists, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Through video communications technology (think Skype or Facetime), a neurologist can view the patient, speak with the patient and staff, as well as monitor vital signs and other important information. Another component to the stroke program at Navarro Regional Hospital is Speech Therapy and Physical Rehabilitation.
A Speech Language Pathologist recently joined the team to assist in evaluating and working with stroke patients as well as other patients with speech disorders. The services will be provided for patients who are inpatients at the hospital and those who are outpatients.
“Navarro County is fortunate to have well-trained, qualified physicians as well as a strong, stable staff. Our challenge, just like other smaller communities across the country is access to quality care from specialists. Telemedicine is changing how hospitals and clinicians approach medicine for higher acuity patients, making more services available close to home,” said Curt Junkins, CEO of Navarro Regional Hospital.
According to the CDC, about 795,000 Americans suffer from a stroke each year. If a stroke is suspected in yourself or someone else, always call for an ambulance. A patient who arrives by ambulance may get a faster diagnosis because EMS personnel begin to collect valuable information about what is going on in the body as soon as they arrive on scene. They are in communication with hospital staff regarding signs and symptoms of the patient as they are on the way to the hospital.
“I am proud to work at a facility that provides board certified neurology services to the community, and that we have a strong collaboration with Corsicana Fire Rescue. Time is of the utmost importance when dealing with a possible stroke. Strokes treated within the first three hours of symptoms may have a higher survival rate and have fewer complications,” said Tina Martin, R.N., Stroke Coordinator at Navarro Regional Hospital.
The American Stroke Association encourages everyone to learn the symptoms of stroke to support timely access to care. Use the letters in F.A.S.T. to spot stroke signs and know when to call 911.
• Face Drooping- does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven or lopsided?
• Arm Weakness- is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
• Speech- is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.
• Time to call 911 – If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.