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Health Care
May 14, 2024

Cape Fear Valley Health's Tailored Care for Stroke Patients Helps Improve Outcomes

Sponsored Content provided by Meghan Dorman , Cape Fear Valley Medical Center

During May, health educators work to raise awareness about the signs and symptoms of having a stroke and the actions you can take to save lives. Fortunately for people in the regions, the Cape Fear Valley Health System provides high-quality emergency care and rehabilitation services for people experiencing stroke and other serious medical events.

A stroke is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. People who neglect the warning signs of stroke, wait too long to seek help, or try to drive themselves to the hospital can risk suffering permanent neurologic damage or even death.

Knowing what to do if you are someone close to you experiences a stroke can give you the best chances of a strong recovery. Calling 911 means that the patient will be assessed more quickly, saving valuable minutes that translates into saved brain tissue and function.

The paramedics will also notify the hospital of an incoming stroke patient, allowing the medical team to assemble, clear the CT table, and prepare for the incoming patient.

This BE-FAST acronym can help you recall the common signs and symptoms of a stroke:

Balance: It may become difficult to walk or balance. Are they suddenly having difficulty walking or experiencing a change in balance, dizziness or coordination?
Eyes: Vision may change suddenly in one or both eyes. Are they suddenly having trouble seeing? 
Face Drooping: One side of the face may droop or become numb. Ask the person to smile. Is the smile uneven or lopsided?
Arm or Leg Weakness: One arm or leg may become weak or numb. Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech Difficulty: Speech may be slurred or difficult to understand or the person may seem to be suddenly confused or have difficulty understanding speech. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Is the speech slurred or strange?
Time to Call Emergency Services: If you observe any of these signs, or the person has a sudden severe headache with no known cause, it's time to call emergency services immediately. Time is critical in stroke treatment, and prompt medical attention can minimize the damage caused by a stroke.

It's important to note that not all strokes present with the same symptoms, and symptoms can vary depending on the type and location of the stroke. Additionally, some strokes may present with less common symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or brief loss of consciousness.

Cape Fear Valley Health’s comprehensive approach to stroke care doesn’t end once the patient has stabilized. Practicing evidence-based high quality care consistently for all stroke victims, we begin the discharge planning process as soon as the patient is admitted to ensure they have connections to appropriate resources such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, or any medical equipment or medical assistance required.

As a part of a multidisciplinary team, the providers will discuss the risk factors that may have led to the stroke occurrence and begin working on a plan to reduce the risk of stroke recurrence. This will include discharging the patient with the appropriate medications and follow up appointments to keep the patient on track after they have left the hospital. Some patients may qualify for inpatient rehabilitation, a service that is offered at Cape Fear valley as well, which includes a rigorous therapy plan to strengthen and prepare the patient to return to home. Cape Fear Valley offers a stroke support group to survivors of stroke and caregivers and family members of those survivors of stroke called Life After Stroke Team. This group meets monthly to connect its members with others who have gone through similar experiences, educate on stroke prevention, and introduce to available community resources.

Again, it's crucial to act quickly. Do not ignore or dismiss symptoms of a stroke, even if they seem to resolve on their own, as transient symptoms can still indicate a serious medical condition. If you note any of the above signs, call emergency services immediately and note the time when the symptoms first appeared, as this information can help medical professionals determine the appropriate treatment.


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