OMC Stroke Center Awarded State Stroke Center designation
Stroke Team provides comprehensive, quick treatment for stroke patients
Ozarks Medical Center (OMC) has been designated a Level Two Stroke Center
by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reflecting the
organization’s commitment to stroke education, quick treatment and
“When someone is suffering from a stroke, time and expertise are
critically important from the first second.” said OMC Neurologist
Dr. Clara Applegate. “We are extremely proud of our comprehensive
stroke program and the team of professionals who respond quickly and efficiently
to stroke, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
OMC applied for a Level II designation and was certified as such with zero
deficiencies at the time of survey, the highest outcome possible. There
are four levels of center designation. This is the second highest level
of stroke center designation with a level one designation typically being
found in academic and research hospitals. In 2014, OMC provided care to
high volumes of stroke patients, 204 patients with stroke.
OMC’s multidisciplinary stroke team is made up of nurses, physicians,
neurologists, ambulance services, therapists and Emergency Department
workers who respond to stroke. According to Dr. Applegate, the first step
is that people need to be aware and call 911. All of the EMS systems (ground
and air ambulances) recognize that stroke is an emergency and that every
minute counts, so as soon as the 911 call comes in, EMS notifies the stroke
team at Ozarks Medical Center to be on alert. When the patient arrives
at the hospital the stroke is confirmed by the doctors and CT scan is
done right away. CT scan of the head must be done right away to avoid
giving clot buster to someone with a hemorrhage or another problem. The
“clot busting drug”, tPA, may be given right away if the diagnosis
is confirmed and blood pressure is controlled.
The national standard is to administer the tPA within 60 minutes of arrival
at the hospital. OMC’s average for 2014 was 46 minutes.
“We are very proud that OMC’s response time beats the national
standard. The quicker someone can receive care for a stroke, the better
the outcomes for their long-term health may be,” Dr. Applegate said.
“Having a trained stroke response team ready to act allows us to
rapidly identify and assess a patient’s condition. It is not always
possible to prevent a stroke, but with timely, evidence-based care, it
is possible to prevent many of the complications of stroke.”
Dr. Applegate said it is critical for those who may be experiencing a stroke
to act fast and call 911.
“Even if you are close to the hospital, it is important to call 911,”
she said. “The technicians can begin treatment in the ambulance
and can alert the Emergency Department to put the OMC Stroke Team on alert.
The clot buster, tPA must be given within a 3 hours from the start of stroke
symptoms. The American Heart Association reports that unfortunately, only
4 percent of stroke patients nationwide receive the recommended treatment
in the key hours after stroke.
“OMC has worked diligently over the past 18 years to educate the
community on the importance of fast action. Currently, we are able to
treat 29% of ischemic strokes with tPA at Ozarks Medical Center, much
higher than the national average. We treat 100% of strokes that are eligible
for the treatment. We are striving for all patients who come to be treatable,
but that depends upon the community. Too often, people wait to see if
they'll get better. If they wait too long, we cannot administer tPA,”
according to Dr. Applegate “We have been providing 24/7 stroke care
since 1997 and with each year, we do a little better, as more people recognize
that stroke is an emergency."
The signs of stroke are easy to remember using the acronym FAST (face,
arm, speech, time): Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty and
Time to call 911.
For more information on stroke or Target Stroke, contact the OMC Neurosciences
Center at 417-257-6777.