Conyers, Ga. – As our communities slowly reopen from shelter-in-place orders, there is an urgency among healthcare providers at Piedmont Newton and Piedmont Rockdale hospitals to ensure the public understands the importance of obtaining timely care for stroke and stroke-like symptoms.
“The faster a stroke is recognized and treatment is provided to restore blood flow to the brain the greater the chance disability will be reduced,” said Nancy Hanley, RN, MSN, cardiovascular clinical services and stroke coordinator for Piedmont Rockdale Hospital. “We want people in the community to be familiar with the warning signs and symptoms of stroke, as well as the risk factors. While some risk factors such as age and race cannot be changed, 80 percent of strokes are preventable when certain risk factors such as poor diet, obesity, physical inactivity, and smoking are changed and controlled.”
As the fifth leading cause of death and the number one cause of disability, a stroke can be life-changing and debilitating if not treated right away. A stroke occurs when one of the arteries carrying blood and oxygen to the brain is either blocked or bursts, preventing blood from getting to parts of the brain. As a result, the part of the brain not receiving blood begins to die causing permanent damage. Depending on where the damage occurs, a patient can develop problems with their vision, body movement, cognitive issues, memory problems, and more.
“Since the coronavirus outbreak in March, we have seen a dramatic decrease in the number of patients seeking treatment in the Emergency Department for stroke symptoms,” said Erica Walker, BSN, RN, ASC-BC manager of Stroke and Cardiovascular services for Piedmont Newton Hospital. “We know that people in our communities have not stopped having strokes, and we want them to know that it is safe to come to the hospital for the emergency care they need.”
Both Piedmont Newton and Piedmont Rockdale hospitals have been recognized for providing excellent stroke care. In 2019, Piedmont Newton was designated a Remote Treatment Stroke Center by the Georgia Department of Public Health Office of EMS and Trauma. Also in 2019, Piedmont Rockdale achieved Acute Stroke Ready Certification by DNV GL, a leading healthcare accreditation body. These designations certify that each facility has demonstrated excellence in complying with the standards of care for stroke and that patients are receiving care in a qualified facility.
To recognize the signs of a stroke, remember B.E. F.A.S.T. Symptoms may include a sudden loss of balance, loss of vision in one or both eyes, sudden drooping of the face, sudden weakness in an arm or leg, slurred speech, having trouble speaking or suddenly confused, and/or a terrible headache. If you or someone you know is experiencing stroke symptoms, call 9-1-1 right away.