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Bayhealth Expands Services for Stroke Patients


Statistically speaking, stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in America, as reported by the American Stroke Association. Other facts regarding stroke include:

  • Although many people associate stroke with something that happens as we age, approximately 25% of strokes occur in people less than 65 years of age.
  • The incidence of stroke is much greater in African Americans and Hispanics, and unfortunately these populations are more likely to die after a stroke than Caucasians.
  • While men have more risk factors for strokes, stroke is particularly deadly for women and poses a greater threat to women’s health than breast cancer.

Bayhealth Kent General is a designated Primary Stroke Center, and Bayhealth Milford Memorial is working toward designation. Bayhealth’s Stroke Center is a virtual unit in nature, with Kent General’s Intensive Care Unit, Intermediate Care Unit and the 3 East Medical-Surgical Unit as designated stroke floors. Milford Memorial’s Intensive Care Unit, Intermediate Care Unit and 2 West are designated stroke floors. The staff members on these designated floors have been specially trained on how to care for stroke patients.

“Stroke patients require very individualized care, as they need frequent neurological assessment to look for changes in clinical status,” said Bayhealth Stroke Center Coordinator Kimberly Holmes, MSN, APRN, ACNS-BC, PCCN. “In order to provide optimal care, continuous quality improvement is critical to the success of stroke centers. Our primary goal is to achieve better clinical outcomes for our patients by utilizing the latest in advances in evidence-based practice.”

Because Bayhealth is committed to improving the health status of all members of the community, Bayhealth is enhancing surgery and treatment for patients suffering hemorrhagic strokes as well.

Hemorrhagic strokes account for about 13 percent of stroke cases, according to the American Stroke Association. They occur when a weakened vessel ruptures and bleeds into the surrounding brain, as a result of an injury or a spontaneous ruptured cerebral aneurysm. The blood accumulates and compresses the surrounding brain tissue.

Prompt treatment by surgery or medication can help prevent recurrence of the bleeding and complications.

The care patients receive is coordinated by a multidisciplinary team which includes staff from EMS, the Emergency Department, Pharmacy, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Rehabilitation and Speech Therapy. Bayhealth Neurologist Joel Rutenberg, MD, serves as Medical Director of Bayhealth’s Stroke Center.

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