August 10, 2020 – The Southeast Georgia Health System
Camden Campus hospitals were recently designated Remote Treatment Stroke Centers by
the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) Office of Emergency Medical
Services and Trauma. According to DPH, both hospitals are now an integral
part of Georgia’s comprehensive stroke care system.
“The designation recognizes hospitals that follow best practices
when caring for patients suffering from a stroke. To earn this designation,
we implemented procedures to speed up the diagnosis and treatment of stroke
patients,” says Paul Trumbull, PT, MBA, the Health System’s
Sports Medicine and Neurodiagnostics.
Some vital stroke treatments, such as the delivery of tPA and interventional
surgery to remove artery blocking clots, are time sensitive.
“If a patient has had stroke symptoms for 24 hours or less, the sooner
they arrive at an emergency room, the more likely it is they will be eligible
to receive the time-sensitive treatments and the less likely they are
to die or have long term disability,” explains Trumbull.
In recent years, both hospitals have steadily improved stroke care measures.
“We have increased use of the ‘clot buster’ medication
Tissue Plasminogen Activator (t-PA), and our door-to-needle times for
administering life-saving medications are faster now, as are the door-to-CT
scan times,” Trumbull says.
Phillip P. Amodeo, M.D., a board-certified neurologist at
Southeast Georgia Physician Associates–Neurology and medical director for the Health System’s
Stroke Program, agrees with these assessments. He cites the Health System’s
Telestroke Program as another success story. “Increasing numbers of patients are doing
well and enjoying excellent function due to the Telestroke Program.”
The program works through videoconferencing. A Health System physician,
working with a Baptist Health Jacksonville neurologist, diagnoses a stroke
patient within minutes of their arrival at the
Emergency Care Center.
The stroke center status was bolstered by the Health System’s partnership
with local emergency medical service providers and Baptist Health Jacksonville.
“We developed our stroke program in collaboration with Baptist Health
Jacksonville due to our proximity to their facilities, as well as the
state-of-the-art care offered by the interventional neurosurgeons working
there,” Trumbull says.
Stroke Coordinator Cynthia Gahm, R.N., adds, “Partnering with Baptist
Health Jacksonville allows us to have 24/7 neurology coverage, which expedites
assessment and treatment of stroke patients.”
Amodeo says the partnership is like having a “neurologist on duty
around the clock in both of our Emergency Care Centers.”
With the Remote Treatment Stroke Center designation, local residents experiencing
a stroke are now transported directly to the Health System’s Brunswick
or Camden Campus by first responders. While driving to the hospital, emergency
medical personnel share patient data with hospital staff, creating an
alert to prepare for an incoming stroke victim. “We begin tracking
data even before the patient arrives at the hospital,” says Gahm.
In an ongoing effort to improve care, Gahm and other stroke team personnel
review patient data on a monthly basis. “Tracking data ensures that
our patients receive care based on clinical practice guidelines. We also
discuss areas needing improvement,” explains Gahm.
Progress toward the next improvement is already taking place. “In
early 2021, we will ask The Joint Commission to certify the Brunswick
Campus as a Primary Stroke Center and the Camden Campus as an Acute Stroke
Ready Hospital,” Trumbull says.