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July 11 2018

ProHealth Care hospitals recognized for stroke care

The stroke care teams at ProHealth Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital and ProHealth Waukesha Memorial Hospital have been recognized by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association for earning its Get with the Guidelines-Stroke Gold plus Quality Achievement Award.

Waukesha Memorial has received the award for 10 consecutive years, and Oconomowoc Memorial has received it for nine years. Hospitals earn Gold recognition for meeting core standard levels of care 85 percent of the time – or more – as outlined by the association, for two consecutive calendar years.

Waukesha Memorial also received the Target: Stroke Elite Honor Roll Award, the highest level of stroke recognition, for the fifth year in a row. Oconomowoc Memorial also received the Target: Stroke Honor Roll Award, for the fourth straight year.

The Target: Stroke Honor Roll reflects the hospitals’ success in reducing the time between a patient’s arrival in the emergency department and treatment with tissue plasminogen activator – also known as tPA – a clot-busting medication used to treat ischemic stroke. The effects of stroke can be significantly reduced with tPA and the chance of permanent disability decreases.

The honor roll recognizes the ability of each hospital to treat at least 50 percent of acute ischemic stroke patients with intravenous tPA within 60 minutes of arrival. Elite status recognizes this achievement in at least 75 percent of patients.

In addition, both hospitals are individually certified as Advanced Primary Stroke Centers by the Joint Commission. As part of the certification process, each hospital undergoes a rigorous on-site review. Joint Commission experts evaluate compliance with stroke-related standards and requirements, including program management, the delivery of clinical care and performance improvement.

ProHealth enhances stroke program for the community

Veronica Laak, ProHealth Care advanced practice provider and stroke program coordinator, said ProHealth has seen an increase in administration of tPA over the past year. The medication can be given within three hours of having a stroke – or up to 4.5 hours in select patients. More patients have been coming in earlier, allowing them to maximize their treatment options and eligibility for tPA, she noted.

“Our program has been growing for several years to meet the needs of the community,” Laak said. “We have streamlined every aspect of stroke care, including increasing staff and community education about stroke, providing an ongoing stroke support group, and collaborating with emergency services on care protocols.”

Laak said more stroke patients are arriving at ProHealth hospitals by ambulance, which helps ensure better patient outcomes and may reflect community education efforts.

“Minutes count in stroke care,” she said. “Emergency services personnel communicate with our emergency departments before stroke patients arrive, which allows ProHealth staff to prepare for the level of care patients need. Key medical professionals are notified immediately so they can be at the bedside when the patient arrives.”

According to the American Hospital Association’s 2018 statistical update:

  • From 2005 to 2015, the age-adjusted stroke death rate decreased 21.7 percent in the U.S., and the actual number of stroke deaths declined 2.3 percent.

  • Each year, about 795,000 people in the U.S. experience a new or recurrent stroke. Approximately 610,000 of these are first attacks, and 185,000 are recurrent attacks.

  • In 2015, stroke deaths accounted for 11.8 percent of total deaths worldwide, making stroke the second leading global cause of death behind heart disease.

To help detect carotid artery disease early, and reduce stroke risk, ProHealth Care offers a three-part vascular screening for people 55 and older. The screening also tests for abdominal aortic aneurysm and peripheral artery disease. To schedule a $99 vascular screening, call 262-928-3000 or visit ProHealthCare.org/VascularScreening. To watch a video about the screening, visit ProHealthCare.org/ProHealthMinute.

Call 911 if you or someone you are with experiences these signs of stroke​:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body

  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding (e.g., altered mental status, etc.)

  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes

  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness (or syncope), loss of balance or coordination

  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

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For more than a century, ProHealth Care has been the health care leader in Waukesha County and surrounding areas, providing outstanding care across a full spectrum of services. The people of ProHealth Care strive to continuously improve the health and well-being of the community by combining skill, compassion and innovation. The ProHealth family includes ProHealth Waukesha Memorial Hospital, ProHealth Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital, ProHealth Rehabilitation Hospital of Wisconsin, ProHealth Medical Group, the UW Cancer Center at ProHealth Care, Moreland Surgery Center, ProHealth AngelsGrace Hospice, ProHealth Home Care, ProHealth West Wood Health & Fitness Center and ProHealth Regency Senior Communities. Learn more at ProHealthCare.org.