This past month, DeKalb Community Hospital completed a successful stroke drill and training with Saint Thomas Health to make them the newest member of the St. Thomas Health Stroke Network. This affiliation comes from hard work in an effort to expand accessible, quality care to stroke patients in outlying areas.
The Saint Thomas Stroke Network was introduced in 2009 as an expansion of network services currently provided by the Saint Thomas Chest Pain Network.
“We are proud to announce the partnership with DeKalb Community Hospital,” said Amy Howard, Clinical Coordinator with the Saint Thomas Stroke Network. “We work with community hospitals to develop the protocols to effectively treat stroke patients, which will ultimately benefit the community at large.”
As part of the partnership, DeKalb Community Hospital and Saint Thomas held a stroke drill that started at the DeKalb County Complex and included the 911 call all the way to the hospital treatment protocols. The stroke drill was a collaborative effort between DeKalb County Emergency Medical Services, DeKalb County Complex, Saint Thomas Health, and DeKalb Community Hospital and allowed all parties to showcase the stroke education Saint Thomas Health has provided over the past several weeks. The stroke drill began at the complex with DeKalb Community Hospital Infection Control Director, Linda Gagne, playing the role of stroke victim. The drill outlined the stroke network procedure from start to finish, with all parties acting out their roles in the drill as realistically as possible.
“I was happy to participate in the drill,” Gagne said. “This kind of training makes us an even better hospital and it is educational to the community to bring awareness in how to identify a stroke.”
During the drill, Gagne was transported to DeKalb Community Hospital, where she “received” the appropriate stroke screenings and treatments. The stroke drill not only provided a practice opportunity for DeKalb Community Hospital’s stroke readiness under the new partnership, but also served to educate the public on the warning signs of a stroke and how to respond. To remember the signs of a stroke, you have to act F.A.S.T – Face Drooping, Arm Weakness, Speech Difficulty, and Time to Call 911. Just like a heart attack, the faster you respond to the symptoms of a stroke, the better your chances of recovery.
“Our partnership with the Saint Thomas Stroke Network is an important step for DeKalb,” said Sue Conley, CEO of DeKalb Community Hospital. “We would like to thank Saint Thomas Health for their efforts in education and their commitment to quality patient care. We appreciate the support we will receive from being part of the Stroke Network, and the efforts of Saint Thomas in being a recognized leader in regional stroke care.”
“The drill was a great success,” said Marketing Director, Shan Burklow, after the drill was completed. “I know I learned a lot about the effort it takes on all parts to provide excellent care. I believe in this partnership between DeKalb Community Hospital and Saint Thomas Health Services and am excited about the future of stroke care here in DeKalb County. The earlier a stroke is diagnosed and treated, the better the chances are of full recovery. We want to assure the community that we are fully equipped to handle stroke patients and that we have the capabilities to provide rapid treatment and support through our partnership with Saint Thomas Health – giving patients the best opportunity for positive outcomes.”
Photo: Linda Gagne (Volunteer stroke patient) is wheeled in to DeKalb Community Hospital from the ambulance as part of a community stroke drill. DeKalb Community Hospital is the newest member of the St. Thomas Health Stroke Network.