(The following is a portion of a press release submitted to WDAM7. For more details, visit www.merithealthwesley.com or call 601-268-8000. Doctors add if you think you're feeling the symptoms of a stroke, you should dial 911 immediately.)
Hattiesburg – Merit Health Wesley recently announced that it has earned The Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval® and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Heart-Check mark for Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers. The Gold Seal of Approval® and the Heart-Check mark represent symbols of quality from their respective organizations.
The hospital underwent a rigorous onsite review in August in which Joint Commission experts evaluated compliance with stroke-related standards and requirements, including program management, the delivery of clinical care and performance improvement.
"For our patients, this means that not only is our emergency department staff qualified to provide the swift, thorough care that stroke patients deserve, but that our inpatient care team is also experienced in the unique care that is required after hospitalization," said Mike Neuendorf, Chief Executive Officer at Merit Health Wesley. "For our staff, achieving this certification further illustrates our commitment to providing a high standard of service to those who exhibit signs and symptoms of a stroke."
The Advanced Primary Stroke Center at Merit Health Wesley includes the Emergency Department, Neurology, and the Intensive Care Unit. The hospital is also equipped to see patients through to recovery with the help of its Rehabilitation Services Department. Patients who are experiencing stroke symptoms will receive rapid triage, followed by a series of tests to determine appropriate action and whether medication is necessary. After emergent issues are resolved, patients will be evaluated for physical, occupational and speech therapy needs. Merit Health Wesley staff will also educate patients and their loved ones on ways to minimize the risk of stroke recurrence.
Stroke is the number four cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States, according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year. When stroke symptoms occur remember the acronym FAST and look for these signs.
FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
TIME: If you observe any of these signs, get to the nearest Emergency Department immediately.
"Merit Health Wesley has thoroughly demonstrated the greatest level of commitment to the care of stroke patients through its Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers," said Wendi J. Roberts, RN, executive director, Certification Programs, The Joint Commission. "We commend Merit Health Wesley for becoming a leader in stroke care, potentially providing a higher standard of service for stroke patients in its community."