Inland Counties Emergency Medical Agency Awards Redlands Hospital Designation As Stroke Center

After approval from the Joint Commission, Redlands Community Hospital joins County's emergency medical network for emergency stroke care.

Online PR News – 23-April-2012 – Redlands, CA – REDLANDS, CA -- Minutes can sometimes mean the difference between life and death or severe disability when it comes to treating a stroke. Redlands area residents can now be taken quickly to Redlands Community Hospital when they call 9-1-1 with symptoms of stroke, thanks to its activation as a designated Level II Neurovascular Stroke Receiving Center by the Inland Counties Emergency Medical Agency (ICEMA).

The Inland Counties Emergency Medical Agency awarded the designation to the hospital after it earned a Gold Seal from the Joint Commission as a Primary Stroke Center. The Joint Commission awarded Redlands Community Hospital that designation about three weeks ago.

The ICEMA designation means that patients who are close to the hospital can be taken there by emergency personnel for the treatment of stroke. Previously, patients were taken to hospitals outside of the Redlands area for stroke care.

"The process of obtaining national approval as a designated primary stroke center from the Joint Commission was required to become part of the stroke receiving network in the Inland Empire," said Dr. Phong Nguyen, medical director of the stroke program and emergency department at Redlands Community Hospital. "We invested hundreds of hours in training and system development with our emergency medical team in order to meet the stringent criteria of being a primary stroke center."

Dr. Nguyen said the stroke receiving designation was part of a 15-month long process that involved a team of physicians, nurses and hospital staff. The stroke team attended the international stroke conference, followed the education program and collected data from mock evaluations to receive their level II status.

"Time is brain muscle and it is important that the community is educated about stroke. There are a lot of myths about stroke," he said. "Some believe there is no treatment for a stroke, but it's just not true. Today, we have new medications that can help reverse the effects of stroke if given within a timeframe of about three to four hours. It's so vital that people know this treatment is available in their local community."

Redlands Community Hospital received designation by demonstrating certain standards for stroke care, including a 24/7 team of physicians experienced in diagnoses and treatment of stroke. In addition, the hospital had to have the necessary advanced imaging technology as well as a team of nurses, clinicians and technicians who are experienced in stroke care.

"Stroke can strike suddenly, with symptoms such as numbness in the arms or hands, slurred speech and facial droop being the most prevalent," said Dr. Nguyen. "If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call 911."

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