Gold-Standard Stroke Care

Stroke is a serious and life-threatening condition, which makes it all the more crucial to receive the highest-level treatment and skilled rehabilitation for the best possible outcome. Fortunately, that advanced care is available close to home at Augusta Health, whose accredited Stroke Program has earned the Gold Seal of ApprovalĀ® from The Joint Commission for Primary Stroke Centers for the third straight year.

"The recertification included an on-site evaluation and demonstration of compliance with nationally developed standards for stroke care," says Patra H. Reed, MSN, RN, magnet program director/nursing director and nursing administrative leader for the Stroke Program. "This honor recognizes Augusta Health's commitment
to providing outstanding care to patients and our community."

Physicians, nurses and therapists specialize in patient centered care through all stages of recovery. "We strive to provide the highest-quality, evidenced-based, compassionate care to patients with stroke," Reed says. "This commitment begins with community education and continues through the acute and rehabilitative care of a patient who has experienced a stroke."

Personalized treatment

Since 2006, the Stroke Program has been helping patients like Katherine "Kit" Carter, 89, who suffered a series of strokes in late April. At first, Carter couldn't even get out of bed by herself to go to the restroom. But within a few weeks, and with the help of her therapists, Carter, a tennis enthusiast, was on the court, racquet in hand.

Her daughter, Bev Coffman, was impressed that the staff made Carter's recovery enjoyable by incorporating tennis drills into her mother's physical therapy sessions.

"I pictured them patting her on the shoulder and saying, 'Honey, your tennis days are over,'" Coffman says. "Instead, her physical therapist would balance her with a belt, and she would hit tennis balls forehand and backhand, then move to the left or right to get to the ball."

The personalized recovery methods didn't end there. When Carter's caregivers learned that she would miss
her turn hosting her book club while in the hospital, they suggested that she invite her club to the hospital's
community room. Carter's occupational therapist helped her decide what to bake, then took Carter grocery shopping and helped her prepare blondies for her friends.

"I can't tell you what a good time I had in the hospital," Carter says. "It was three of the nicest weeks I ever spent."

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Be stroke smart, know the signs

Stroke is the No. 4 cause of death in the United States and the No. 1 cause of adult disability. Common warning signs include:

  • sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg, particularly on one side of the body
  • sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • sudden trouble seeing from one or both eyes
  • sudden trouble walking, or experiencing loss of balance or coordination
  • sudden, severe headache of unknown origin