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Recognizing May as National Stroke Awareness Month

Recognizing May as National Stroke Awareness Month

State College, Pa. – During the month of May, Mount Nittany Health joins the nation to raise awareness about the symptoms and risk factors of stroke. As the fifth leading cause of death, and a leading cause of disability in the United States, early detection and treatment are necessary for improving survival rates, minimizing disability, and accelerating recovery times.

Approximately 90 percent of strokes are considered ischemic, occurring when blood flow to the brain is blocked by plaque or a blood clot. Restoring blood flow to the brain with thrombolytic treatment during the minutes to hours immediately following the onset of stroke symptoms is crucial.

Recently, two Emergency Department teams completed two 21-minute “door-to-needle” times in administering thrombolytic treatment, beating the national benchmark by 39 minutes.

At Mount Nittany Health, various teams are involved in the care of stroke alert patients from beginning to end. These teams include EMS; pharmacists, providers, and staff who work in the Emergency Department; Radiology; the Intensive Care Unit and Progressive Care Unit; the Medical Treatment Unit; Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech Language Pathology; Neurology; Case Management; and Education.

Mount Nittany Health’s Stroke Program is led by Stroke and Sepsis Coordinator, Nina Kephart, MSN, RN. As the program coordinator, Nina keeps the program up-to-date with evidence-based practices, and she tracks and reports important stroke care data, as well as providing stroke education to the community.

“I am a firm believer that it’s our teamwork that sets us apart and makes it possible for us to provide the highest quality, timely care to our patients,” said Nina. “We are also fortunate to have an incredibly supportive administrative team helping us make this program the best it can be.”

Additionally, Nina shares her appreciation for the providers and staff, like Jeffrey Elias, DO, FACEP, Emergency Medicine, whose passion for comprehensive stroke care continues to elevate our standards.

In 2023, Mount Nittany Health was honored with the American Heart Association’s GoldPlus Get with the Guidelines-Stroke quality achievement award. This recognition underscores our organization’s dedication to delivering exceptional care to patients in accordance with well-established, evidence-driven protocols. Our commitment translates into an increased number of lives saved and a reduction in disability rates.

Many strokes can be prevented through healthy lifestyle changes and the management of risk factors. A healthy diet and weight; regular physical activity; smoking cessation; limiting alcohol; and managing high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes, are all steps you can take to lower your risk for stroke.

A stroke can happen to anyone, at any age. Being familiar with the signs and symptoms of a stroke may save someone’s life. Mount Nittany Health encourages everyone to learn the acronym BE FAST:

  • B- Balance: Loss of balance, headache or dizziness
  • E- Eyes: Blurred vision
  • F- Face: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
  • A- Arm: Is one arm weak or numb?
  • S- Speech difficulty: Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.
  • T- Time: If the person shows any symptoms, even if they go away, call 911 and get them to the hospital immediately.

Please join us in thanking our many teams who work together to provide the highest quality stroke care to our patients, and further our mission of, “Healthier people, stronger community.”

Topics stroke be fast