In the photo: Marjorie Ratel and Jeffrey Seto both jumped at the opportunity to serve as code stroke response nurses and advance stroke care for patients.
If you or a loved one have experienced a stroke, then you probably know that the sooner treatment can take place the better the outcomes for the patient.
Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) sees over 500 stroke patients each year and has recently added code stroke response nurses (RNs) to its program—the first hospital in BC to do so. The service includes about 20 code stroke RNs and one works on every Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit (NICU) shift. With no assigned patients, code stroke RNs are ready on a moment's notice for an incoming stroke patient.
When the hospital learns that a stroke patient is on the way, the code stroke RN and physician on call have one priority: go to the Emergency Department (ED) to receive, assess and treat the patient without delay. Code stroke RNs remain with patients, accompanying them on every step of their journey to the NICU and serving as a liaison between patients and families and other health care providers
For the majority suffering an ischemic stroke, the goal is to set a new standard for treatment. Currently, the standard for administering tPA, a protein that breaks down blood clots, is 40 minutes. With the help of our code stroke RNs, we aim to administer this treatment in a record 30 minutes. Time saved could mean the difference between returning home within days or spending prolonged periods of time in hospital and rehabilitation — or worse.
“When it comes to strokes, it’s all about time,” says Dr. Philip Teal, clinical director, VGH Stroke Program. “Having highly skilled NICU nurses mobile enough to respond to acute strokes and bridge the transition from the Emergency Department to ICU will mean great advances for our program.”
If you suspect you or someone else may be suffering a stroke, call 911 immediately.