Aitkin’s hospital is ‘stroke ready’

Recently, Riverwood Healthcare Center’s hospital achieved designation as an Acute Stroke Ready Hospital from the Minnesota Department of Health.

In 2013, the Minnesota Legislature authorized the Minnesota Department of Health to designate hospitals in Minnesota as “stroke hospitals.” The designations from lowest to highest level of stroke care are Acute Stroke Ready Hospitals, Primary Stroke Centers, and Comprehensive Stroke Centers.

“When it comes to a stroke diagnosis, getting medical treatment as soon as possible is critical to preventing loss of brain function,” said Jeanine LeBlanc, trauma/stroke coordinator and interim emergency department manager for Riverwood. “Here at Riverwood, our medical and nursing staff has advanced training and is ready to deliver high-quality stroke care close to home.”

The stroke-ready designation means that a hospital is equipped to evaluate, stabilize and provide emergency care to patients with acute stroke symptoms. For example, a stroke-ready hospital always has a stroke team available, has a CT scanner onsite and can administer a key clot-dissolving drug called tPA.

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in Minnesota, accounting for about 2,000 deaths annually. Minnesota hospitals treat more than 11,000 strokes each year.

It is important to know how to spot a stroke fast and call 9-1-1. You can recognize the signs and symptoms of a stroke by remembering F.A.S.T. F for facial droop/numbness, A for arm weakness, S for speech difficulty, and T for time to call 9-1-1.