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Wheeling Hospital’s Stroke Center, In Partnership with WVU Medicine, Providing Round-the-Clock Assessment and Treatment

June 11, 2020

WHEELING, WV – Wheeling Hospital’s clinical partnership with WVU Medicine is enhancing multiple services provided to area residents, among them the treatment of acute stroke.

“Our partnership with WVU Medicine, which began last year, has greatly enhanced our ability to provide optimal stroke care to those in our community and surrounding areas,” said Stroke Center Coordinator Lucas Burkhardt. “The support of our administration has allowed us to implement the necessary components to enhance our services and processes. This active focus on stroke care has resulted in rapidly and consistently improving quality of patient care and outcomes.”

Wheeling Hospital-based hospitalists and neurologists are working in conjunction with WVU Medicine neurologists to provide care. They are available for consultation around the clock daily for assessment and management of acute strokes (and all other neurological disorders). The telestroke partnership with WVU Medicine, which has been active since 2019, has provided access to face-to-face neurological consultations 24 hours a day throughout both the Emergency Department (ED) and inpatient units.

“This process allows for face-to-face assessment of acute stroke patients by a neurologist no matter the time of day or situation,” Burkhardt said. “This is particularly effective during times when in-hospital neurologists are not on site.”

A fully functional Stroke Team has been developed and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for treatment of stroke, both in acute and inpatient care. All members of the team have been trained in protocol/processes and proper assessment of acute stroke. In addition, a Stroke Page Activation System was developed and implemented for the ED and inpatient units.

“We developed a Stroke Care Committee to continue to enhance our care of both acute stroke and subsequent care,” Burkhardt noted. “Group members include representatives from each discipline involved in stroke care from the acute nature through the hospital stay. This includes neurology; stroke coordinator; ED Director; ED RN Manager; ED Education Coordinator; Family Medicine; hospitalist physicians; inpatient nurse leadership; Radiology; Quality Management; Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy; Care Management; Social Services; EMS Coordinator and Informatics.”

Multiple performance improvement initiatives are enacted each year with a focus on continued enhancement of stroke care. Performance improvement initiatives are tracked throughout calendar year and evaluated for success.

Stroke education has included:
• Annual stroke education seminars with continuing education credits held for EMS personnel at both Wheeling Hospital and affiliate Harrison Community Hospital.
• Newly developed stroke education resources and booklet for stroke patients within the hospital to ensure all components of stroke are understood prior to discharge. Education is completed with a stroke coordinator and focuses on risk factors, signs and symptoms of stroke, individualized medication review, how/when to activate EMS, importance of follow-up and compliance. Lifestyle change recommendations are discussed, including diet and physical activity. Local resources for assistance also are provided to aid in recovery and to enhance information.
• EMS education sessions with individual EMS departments are conducted as requested.
• Community education and speakers at health fairs, events and meetings.

“We also started a monthly Stroke Support Group in April of 2019,” Burkhardt said. “This is available for both individuals having experienced stroke and family/caregivers. It allows for discussion regarding stroke and subsequent difficulties, coping methods and strategies to enhance the lives of those affected.”

(NOTE: All hospital support group meetings have been suspending throughout the pandemic and will resume when restrictions are lifted.)

“The continued support of and focus on stroke care will only further enhance our ability to provide the highest quality services to those within our community,” Burkhardt said.

For more information, call Burkhardt at 304-243-8398. Groups interested in education training should call EMS Coordinator Jeff Gazdik at 304-243-8380.

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Contact: Thea Gompers, Director, Marketing/Public Relations 304-243-3705
Wheeling Hospital

Wheeling Hospital

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