Lifeline Stroke initiative

(Left to right) Dr. Brady Fickenscher (York Medical Clinic), Peggy Davis (York General Laboratory), PA Julie Rempe (York Medical Clinic), Chanda Nunnekamp (RN, York General Emergency Department), PA Kendall Bolte (York Medical Clinic), Preston Bolte (Paramedic, York General Emergency Department, and patient-actor Steve Holmes (York Fire Department) discuss the mock stroke continuum held at the hospital as part of the Mission: Lifeline Stroke initiative.

YORK—York General has been fine-tuning its treatment of stroke patients, as part of Mission: Lifeline Stroke.

Mission: Lifeline Stroke focuses on helping hospitals streamline their stroke treatment procedures, connecting all necessary departments and resources to provide top-notch, evidence-based treatment.

Many different areas of York General take part in stroke treatment, so making sure those departments work together smoothly. Communication between the departments is key. “We can start making phone calls during the evaluation of the patient,” said Preston Bolte, York General Emergency Department Paramedic. “We can be deciding what we’re going to do – what our next step is. Efficiency is huge. Running through it really helps.”

Recognizing a stroke event as soon as possible is paramount. The acronym “F.A.S.T.” has become the standard for spotting a stroke: Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty and Time. “You can eyeball someone and tell that they’re having a severe stroke,” said Julie Rempe, a P.A. at York Medical Clinic. One can never be too careful, though, said Chanda Nunnekamp, RN, York General Emergency Department. “The vital component is if you even have a flicker of an idea a stroke is happening, seek treatment.”

Time is one of the most important components of F.A.S.T. “We only have a short window,” Bolte said. “We’re trying to reduce damage to the brain.”

A stroke is sudden interruption in the brain’s blood supply. The most common form of a stroke is an Ischemic stroke. It occurs when a vessel bringing blood to the brain is blocked – usually brought on by fatty deposits on the walls of the blood vessel; it can also be caused by a blood clot formed in another part of the body, eventually reaching a blood vessel too small for it to pass. Ischemic strokes account for about 87 percent of all strokes, according to the American Stroke Association.

While hospitals like York General are highly trained to handle stroke events, one of the most important parts of treatment is seeking that treatment. “Call 911,” advised Jennifer Hirschfeld, RN, Director of York General Hospital’s emergency room. “Get them to the hospital and help us do our job.”

York General is taking part in Mission: Lifeline Stroke thanks to the American Heart Association, with support from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. The Helmsley Charitable Trust has a Rural Healthcare Program to improve access to and quality of healthcare in the upper Midwest – particularly in rural areas. The trust partners with nonprofits to implement its efforts.

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