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MRHS Held Stroke Education Course

Mena Regional Health System recently hosted a Stroke Education Course, organized by Tammy Harrison, ER Director and Arkansas Saves Coordinator for Mena Regional Health System.  The course was led by Tim Vandiver, BS Paramedic, RN from UAMS Arkansas Saves.  Tim is the outreach nurse educator and primarily trains paramedics and first responders about the life saving program and the critical role EMS plays in identifying the immediate signs and symptoms that patients present upon their arrival.  400,000 stroke patients are being transported annually by EMS providers.

Stroke is the Fifth leading cause of death in our nation with one death every four minutes and 137,000 deaths annually.  In 2011, Arkansas was #1 in the nation in strokes.  Arkansas is now #6 in the nation due to the medical advancements and education provided by the UAMS Arkansas Saves program.

With stroke being the leading cause of disability in adults, knowing the signs and seeking medical attention immediately is crucial.  6.4 million survivors reach only 50-75% functional independence following a stroke.

When a patient presents him/herself to the ER with symptoms of a stroke, a CT scan is immediately performed to identify the type of stroke and if TPA, a clot busting drug, can be administered.  With the use of telemedicine, a neurologist is able to view, speak with and observe the patient.  With the CT results and observations, the neurologist may prescribe the clot busting drug that can ultimately save the patient’s life. Many factors are considered before the TPA drug can be administered.

The mission of the Arkansas Saves Program at UAMS is to educate the public on the signs of stroke using the acronym FAST.

F- Face, sudden droop on one side of the face

A- Arm, one arm drifts compared to the other when place out in front of the body

S- Speech, when there’s a change in speech (slurred)

T- Time Lost is Brain Lost!  Get immediate medical attention.

If you or a loved one experiences any of the above symptoms, call emergency medical services immediately.  Many individuals are unable to name one single stroke symptom.  Know the signs and remember that time is critical!

“It is our hope to not only have the nursing staff educated in stroke care, but also our local Emergency Medical Personnel and our First Responders.  The public needs to know that MRHS Emergency Department can provide emergent stroke care and then move those patients to a higher level of care as needed.  I am thankful that MRHS is a partner with AR Saves so that we can help save lives and improve patient’s functional ability to carry on normal activities of life after a stroke,” – Tammy Harrison, Emergency Department Director.

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