In an instant, a stroke can change the course of your life, causing the inability to speak, weakness or paralysis on one side of the body, short-term memory loss and balance problems, even death. NorthBay Healthcare is committed to providing an inclusive stroke program that immediately identifies and begins treatment of stroke in the NorthBay Medical Center and NorthBay VacaValley Hospital emergency departments.
Sometimes called a “brain attack,” a stroke occurs when a blood clot either blocks an artery (called an ischemic stroke) or bursts (a hemorrhagic stroke), sending blood flowing into the brain. About 87 percent of strokes are caused by blood clots and can be treated with a clot-busting drug, called tPA if they are caught within three hours of the start of symptoms. The other 13 percent are hemorrhagic, and require surgery. In most cases, that surgery can take place at NorthBay Medical Center, although the most critical of hemorrhagic cases are sent to Mercy Neurological Center in Sacramento, NorthBay’s partner in treating stroke cases.
The length of time a stroke patient remains in the hospital depends upon the type and severity of the brain injury. Within 24 hours of hospital admission, a rehabilitation therapist evaluates the patient’s level of neurological damage, cognitive abilities and muscle strength and tone. Some patients who have had a small stroke may find their symptoms resolve in a few days. However, if many bodily or cognitive functions have been affected, it’s an indication of greater brain damage and the patient may have residual effects for months, or for the rest of their life. How the brain heals depends on the level of damage caused by the stroke.
The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association honored NorthBay with a Silver Achievement Award in 2013. The silver award is only given to programs with 12 consecutive months of 85 percent or higher adherence to all “Get With The Guidelines Stroke Achievement Indicators” to improve quality of patient care and outcomes. NorthBay’s stroke program was recognized for this achievement of compliance for its record in 2012, its first full year of operation.
When an ED physician signals a stroke alert, a call is made to the Mercy Neurological Institute in Sacramento and an InTouch telehealth robot rolls to the patient’s bedside. It carries with it all the technology needed to give Mercy experts real-time information so they can collaborate with NorthBay physicians at the patient’s bedside for a quick diagnosis.
NorthBay Healthcare’s Women’s Resource Center is proud to host the New Beginnings Support Group for caregivers and survivors of stroke. Monthly meetings are every third Tuesday from 10 to 11 a.m. According to Angela Kirk, coordinator, the group provides a great opportunity for survivors and caregivers alike to get the support they need from people who understand what they’ve been through. For information, call Kirk at (707) 432-5710.
NorthBay Medical Center: 707-646-5000 NorthBay VacaValley Hospital 707-624-7000
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