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Stroke Care Center

Geisinger-Community Medical Center (G-CMC) has officially earned the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for certification as a Primary Stroke Center.

The goal of Stroke Care at G-CMC Hospital is to help the public and staff understand the risk factors, symptoms of stroke and the importance of a diagnosis as soon as possible. Time is crucial in stroke because every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke and roughly every four minutes a person dies from a stroke. The earlier a stroke is recognized and the patient receives medical attention, the greater chance of a complete recovery.

    List of Stroke Care Services:

    • Emergency Department physicians and nurses trained in stroke care
    • CT Scan and Laboratory availability 24 / 7
    • Administration understanding and supportive of stroke care
    • Trained inpatient staff nurses – both trained and/or certified in neurological Nursing
    • Trained Neurologists
    • Extensively trained rehabilitative, nutrition and pharmacy departments trained in Stroke rehabilitation
    • Rehabilitative Physicians (Physiatrists) trained specifically in stroke care
    • Stroke Coordinator and Administrator certified in Neurological Nursing and a Coordinator trained in Rehabilitation
    • Neurosurgeons, Cardiologists, Vascular Surgeons available 24/7

    Our stroke department consists of:

    The Joint Commission’s Primary Stroke Center Certification is based on on-site evaluations that evaluate a medical center’s compliance with the recommendations for primary stroke centers published by the Brain Attack Coalition and the American Stroke Associations’ statements and guidelines for stroke care.

    GCMC3“Achieving this certification demonstrates the commitment and dedication of the G-CMC stroke team to continuously improving the care provided in Lackawanna County and the surrounding area,” said Anthony Aquilina, D.O., chief medical officer, G-CMC. “While earning the Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval is recognition of exceptional care, it is also involves a commitment from our physicians and staff to continue assessing the care we provide and identifying ways to improve.”

    G-CMC is one of 54 medical centers in Pennsylvania to be certified as a Primary Stroke Center. It is also the only hospital in Lackawanna County to be honored with the Primary Stroke Center distinction.

    “The creation of a program worthy of the Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval was truly a team effort throughout all levels of care at G-CMC,” said Edgar Kenton, M.D., director, Stroke Program, Geisinger Health System. “Earning this award involved streamlining the way we care for strokes from the moment a patient arrives in the emergency room to neurological and neurosurgical care and beyond. Every physician, nurse and first responder who contributes to stroke care deserves recognition for the Primary Stroke Center certification.”

    Founded in 1951, the Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 18,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. It has been issuing Primary Stroke Center certification since 2003.

    Departments Involved:

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    What symptoms do I look for?
    Primary symptoms include…

    • Sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the face or facial drooping
    • Sudden numbness or weakness in an arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
    • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
    • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
    • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
    • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

    What word can I remember that will help me know stroke symptoms?
    Use the FAST test to recognize and respond to the signs of stroke…..

    • F = Face Ask the person to smile. Does one side of their face droop?
    • A = Arm Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
    • S = Speech Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?
    • T = Time If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately!

    How fast should I get to the hospital?

    What types of stroke are there?
    Ischemic stroke occurs when arteries are blocked by blood clots or by the gradual build-up of plaque and other fatty acids. About 87% of all strokes are ischemic.
    Hemorrhagic Stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain breaks leaking blood into the brain. Hemorrhagic strokes account for 13% of all strokes, yet are responsible for more than 30% of all stroke deaths.

    What is a stroke?
    Stroke is a brain attack, cutting off vital blood flow and oxygen to the brain.

    • In the U.S., stroke is a leading cause of death, killing over 133,00 people each year, and a leading cause of serious, long-term adult disability
    • Approximately 795,000 strokes will occur this year, one occurring every 4 seconds and taking a life every four minutes.
    • Stroke can happen to anyone at any time, regardless of race, sex or age.
    • From 1997 to 2007, the annual stroke death rate fell approximately 34 percent and the actual number of deaths fell by 18 percent.
    • Approximately 55,000 more women than men have a stroke each year.
    • African Americans have almost twice the risk of first-ever stroke compared with whites.

    Should I go to my family physician first, or go directly to the emergency department?
    Few Americans know the signs of stroke. Learning them – and acting FAST when they occur – could save your life or the life of a loved one. Remember that stroke strikes FAST and you should too. Call 9-1-1!

    How can I reduce my risk of stroke?
    Everyone has some stroke risk. Some risk factors are beyond your control, including being over 55, being a male, being African-American, having Diabetes, and having a family history of stroke. If you have one of these risk factors, it is even more important that you learn about the lifestyle and medical changes you can make to prevent a stroke. However, everyone should do what they can to reduce their risk for stroke – learn more by reading and following the Prevention Guidelines below.

    Medical stroke risk factors include; Talk to your doctor about……..

    • Previous stroke
    • Previous history of TIA
    • High cholesterol
    • High blood pressure
    • Heart disease
    • Atrial fibrillation
    • Carotid artery disease

    Lifestyle stroke risk factors include:

    • Smoking
    • Being overweight
    • Drinking too much alcohol

    You can control these factors by quitting smoking, exercise regularly, watching what and how much you eat and limiting alcohol consumption.

    Prevention Guidelines:

    • 1. Know your blood pressure
    • 2. Find out if you have atrial fibrillation
    • 3. If you smoke, stop
    • 4. If you drink, do so in moderation
    • 5. Know your cholesterol number
    • 6. Control your Diabetes
    • 7. Include exercise in the activities you enjoy in your daily routine
    • 8. Enjoy a lower sodium (salt), lower fat diet
    • 9. Ask your physician if you have circulation problems
    • 10. Act FAST!

    If I have Diabetes or high cholesterol, am I at an increased risk for stroke?
    Yes – see question #7 above.

    Can I have the clot-busting drug “tPA”?
    Your physician and Neurologist will determine the best medication and treatment for you. You may be a candidate if you get to the hospital immediately when you recognize stroke symptoms.

    Do I have to stop smoking?
    Yes – see question #7 above.