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Published on July 08, 2016

Annie Penn Hospital Becomes Life-Saving Bridge for Stroke Care

Hospital is the first in the state to earn the new “Acute Stroke Ready Hospital” certification from The Joint Commission

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association recommends that people get care from a primary or comprehensive stroke center at the first sign of stroke. But that level of care is usually miles away from rural areas such as

Annie Penn Hospital

Rockingham County. That is why Annie Penn Hospital worked to be among the first hospitals in the nation to meet new Joint Commission standards to care for people until they reach a stroke center.

Annie Penn Hospital has earned the Acute Stroke Ready Hospital designation from The Joint Commission. This new program recognizes hospitals that meet rigorous standards designed to help people survive the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. “Annie Penn Hospital is literally a lifeline for area stroke patients,” says Annie Penn Hospital Accreditation/Patient Safety Coordinator Debbie Carter, RN. “If people having a stroke can access life-saving care more quickly, more lives can be saved and more people will avoid the disabilities that stroke so often causes.”

Annie Penn Hospital teams spent more than a year building the stroke program and meeting the new standards. Those standards include:

  • A dedicated stroke-focused program.
  • Staffing by qualified medical professionals trained in stroke care.
  • Collaborating with local emergency management services to encourage training in field assessment tools and communication with the hospital so that care can begin almost immediately.
  • 24/7 ability to perform rapid diagnostic and laboratory testing.
  • Ability to provide clot-busting medications to eligible patients.
  • Availability of telemedicine technology.
  • Use of transfer agreements/protocols with facilities that provide primary or comprehensive stroke services.

“It says a lot that when these stringent care guidelines came out our staff began drawing up plans to meet them,” says Annie Penn Hospital President and Behavioral Health Hospital President Debbie Green, DNP, RN. “We know how vital stroke care is to our community.”

The experts at The Joint Commission-certified primary stroke center at The Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro encourage people to know the symptoms of stroke.

Stroke symptoms occur suddenly and may include:

  • Numbness or weakness of the leg.
  • Confusion or trouble understanding.
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination.
  • Severe headache with no known cause.

Anyone having or seeing someone having those symptoms should call 9-1-1.

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