Stroke Services

Stroke Services

Even though 730,000 Americans experience a stroke every year, few know the warning signs. As a result, 160,000 people a year die of stroke. According to the American Heart Association, strokes rank as the third leading cause of death in the United States.

Thankfully, stroke is one of the most preventable of all life-threatening health problems. As a Certified Primary Stroke Center, Providence Medical Center is committed to helping patients avoid having a stroke. However, in the event that one occurs, we ensure that patients receive the very best life-saving care available.

Providence has received an advanced level of stroke certification in collaboration with The Joint Commission and The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. This achievement fosters an environment of consistent quality care allowing for early recognition and knowledge of extensive treatment options. This advanced designation as a Primary Stroke Center promotes a culture of clinical excellence, providing an advantage to our staff and community.

Primary Stroke Center Certification recognizes hospitals that meet standards to support better outcomes for stroke care. Eligibility standards include:

  • A dedicated stroke-focused program
  • Staffing by qualified medical professionals trained in stroke care
  • Individualized care to meet stroke patients’ needs
  • Patient involvement in their hospital care
  • Coordination of post-discharge patient self-care based on recommendations of the Brain Attack Coalition and guidelines published by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association or equivalent guidelines
  • Streamlined flow of patient information while protecting patient rights, security and privacy
  • Collection of the hospital’s stroke-treatment performance data
  • Hospital team performance data
  • Use of data to assess and continually improve quality of care for stroke patients

If a patient having a stroke receives emergency treatment at Providence, our medical team can often stop the stroke by utilizing a remarkable medication called tissue plasminogen activator or T-PA.

The body uses this natural substance to dissolve blood clots. In the case of a stroke, T-PA can often be administered directly to attack the clot causing the stroke and restore blood flow to the brain, helping the patient avoid major brain damage.

T-PA must be administered to the patient within three hours of the onset of the stroke, and patients must meet a set of criteria to ensure that they are suitable candidates for an intervention of this type.

Because it is important to get a stroke victim to the emergency department quickly, the National Stroke Association devised a simple test to help people act quickly. It is called Act F.A.S.T. and is based on this acronym.

F=Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

A=Arm: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S=Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?

T=Time: If you observe any of these signs, it's time to call 9-1-1 or get to the nearest stroke center or hospital.