What is a stroke?
Stroke care when moments count
- Robert S. Rubenstein, MD
Harrison's Stroke Program Co-Medical Director
“With a stroke, time lost is brain lost. The first hour after stroke symptoms start is critical,” said Robert Rubenstein, MD, Harrison’s Stroke Program co-medical director. “Our goal is to treat patients within that ‘golden hour’ to help ensure the best outcomes so we can reduce or even reverse the effects of a stroke.”
Harrison is collaborating with the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) in implementation of the Emergency Cardiac and Stroke (ECS) system in our region. The WA State ECS system provides a coordinated approach to improving emergency response and treatment for acute coronary syndrome, cardiac arrest, and stroke patients. The goal of this system is to improve patient outcomes by reducing time to treatment and getting patients into a dedicated system of comprehensive care. The ECS system is based on the principles of getting the right patient, to the right place, in the right amount of time, to save lives and reduce disability.
In coordination with Emergency Medical Service (EMS) providers in the region, Harrison has developed a system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to the emergency department. This includes notice from the EMS crew when a patient is being transported to the hospital and a team approach to providing rapid brain imaging scans to diagnose and make treatment decisions. Harrison also partners with Harborview Medical Center’s Telestroke Program to allow 24/7 consultation with a vascular neurologist and access to University of Washington stroke experts. The organizations share education and research as well as evidence-based clinical protocols and practice guidelines.
Harrison also participates in a national stroke registry and the American Heart Association’s “Get with the Guidelines” program, to assure adherence to national best practice guidelines (core measures) and ongoing assessment and implementation of performance improvement opportunities. Harrison’s stroke team has been very successful in achieving and maintaining high levels of adherence with the stroke core measures and promoting high standards of care for stroke patients.
If you live in Kitsap County or an area nearby, chances are Harrison is your hospital. As the region’s largest acute medical care facility, it is both an extraordinary responsibility—and our privilege—to care for our friends, neighbors, and family who also call this community home. These partnerships are ensuring our community has access to exceptional healthcare close to home.
Remember, if you experience or observe any stroke warning signs, dial 9-1-1.