OSF Saint Elizabeth Medical Center in Ottawa, Illinois has received designation as an Emergent Stroke Ready Hospital (ESRH) from the Illinois Department of Public Health.
“This ensures that all stroke patients have access to rapid care within the narrow treatment window,” said Ken Beutke, OSF Saint Elizabeth President. “Stroke designation for our medical center now allows local access to the care needed beginning the moment they enter the hospital to the time the lifesaving drug is administered within the recommended 60 minute treatment window”.
In 2009, the Illinois General Assembly passed MB2244, allowing the creation of stroke systems of care in Illinois. The law identifies hospitals capable of providing emergent stroke care and directs EMS to transport possible acute stroke patients to these hospitals.
“With our local hospital designated, it now means stroke patients can receive high quality treatment right here in their own community” said Megan Brennan, RN, OSF Saint Elizabeth Director of Emergency Services.
“In order to gain the ESRH designation, the hospital must meet specific criteria, and OSF Saint Elizabeth has worked hard to achieve this,” said medical center Emergency Medicine physician Daniel Mueller, DO. “With stroke, time is brain”, he added. “Getting to an emergent stroke ready hospital via ambulance allows the EMS to pre-notify the hospital of an incoming stroke patient, resulting in the fastest treatment possible upon arrival. It is not recommended that a patient having a stroke arrive by car or private vehicle.”
To receive designation, hospitals must measure their outcomes and times to treatment and are subject to random inspections by the state.
In the event of a stroke, think FAST. FAST is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke.
- Face - Ask the person to smile or show teeth. Is the person's smile uneven or one side drooping?
- Arm - Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- Speech - Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like "The sky is blue." Is the speech slurred? Is the sentence repeated correctly?
- Time - If one of these symptoms is present, don’t drive; call 9-1-1 and check the time for when the first symptoms appeared.