left-arrow right-arrow Twitter Twitter Facebook Facebook Instagram YouTube Google Plus LinkedIn Email

Surviving a Stroke: Treatment and Recovery

Today's Medicine

If you suffer a stroke, receiving the proper treatment and rehabilitation as quickly as possible is absolutely key. Recovery begins immediately following a stroke.

Being stroke-ready

Methodist Hospital, Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital and Methodist Women’s Hospital are certified by the Joint Commission for the care and treatment of stroke, but the hospitals carry two different certifications. 

Methodist Hospital and Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospitals are certified Advance Primary Stroke Centers. This designation shows that our stroke program has met the critical elements of performance to achieve long-term, successful outcomes for stroke patients. This certification is a result of a rigorous on-site review by The Joint Commission in conjunction with The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

"If a patient comes to Methodist for their stroke event, we have an acute stroke process in our emergency department with protocols that allow us to get imaging and labs done quickly. This is important as the medical team needs this information to make decisions on the care our patients need."

Pam Stout, MSN, RN, SCRN
Methodist Hospital Stroke Program Coordinator

Methodist Women’s Hospital is certified as Acute Stroke Ready. That means health care professionals will assess, treat and transfer stroke patients to an Advance Primary Stroke Center – which is Methodist Hospital.

Types of strokes

The moment a patient comes to our care, we first work to diagnose what type of stroke the patient is suffering. 

Ischemic strokes are the most common kind, making up 87 percent of strokes. Ischemic strokes happen when a clot – whether a blood clot or a clot made up of fatty tissue from cholesterol plaque in the arteries – blocks a vessel supplying blood to the brain.

Patients who suffer an ischemic stroke often do better than those who suffer hemorrhagic strokes. Hemorrhagic strokes are when there is bleeding on the brain, often from the rupture of an aneurysm caused by high blood pressure. 

While hemorrhagic strokes only account for about 13 percent of strokes, they account for about 30 percent of deaths caused by stroke. Stroke is currently the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, and the fourth leading cause of death in Nebraska.

Treating a stroke

Those who come to the Methodist emergency department with an ischemic stroke and are within a three-hour window of the onset of their stroke symptoms, are given a drug called tPA. This drug works quickly to dissolve the clot and improve the blood flow. When given in time, tPA can save lives and reduce the long-term effects of stroke.

Following treatment, patients are transferred then to Methodist ICU to be watched for 24-hours. From there, a patient will go to the Methodist Neuro Unit where physicians and staff work to find out what caused the stroke so we can help prevent it from happening again.

Rehab and recovery

After someone has a stroke, our Methodist team works on two things: rehabilitation and risk factor reduction. About 25 percent of people who have a stroke end up having a secondary stroke. Our goal is to prevent that second stroke from happening through education and lifestyle modification.

When it comes to rehabilitation, Methodist Hospital offers specialized physical, speech and occupational therapy. The Methodist Hospital Acute Rehabilitation Center helps patients recover independence and function to lead as productive a life as possible. Our specially trained rehab RNs, to our physicians, and our physical, occupational, speech and therapeutic recreation therapists provide one-on-one treatment, three hours a day, five days per week.

We also focus on risk factor reduction. For many stroke patients, that can include:

  • Taking medications for high blood pressure
  • Taking medications for high cholesterol 
  • Changing diet 
  • Quitting smoking 
  • Being more active 
  • Controlling diabetes. 

If we can control those then hopefully we can prevent that secondary neck stroke from happening.

Learn more online

You can learn more about the warning signs of stroke and what you need to know by participating in the Stroke Twitter chat being hosted by the American Heart Association Midwest. It will take place on Thursday from Noon to 1 p.m. Methodist providers will join in and share their knowledge along with other stroke experts and you can follow the hashtag #MWAStrokeChat

If you have questions about stroke care at Methodist, contact us at 402-354-4000.

Article published on May 22, 2018.

Pam Stout

About the Author:

As the Stroke Program Coordinator at Methodist Hospital, Pam Stout, MSN, RN, SCRN, has the opportunity to evaluate the care Methodist provides stroke patients and to continually look for ways to improve that care. 

"With 80 percent of strokes being preventable, I believe it is our responsibility to ensure patients are aware of their stroke risk factors and in recognition of the signs and symptoms of stroke," said Pam.  "As the stroke program coordinator, I have I am lucky enough to be able to participate in community wide education events to help spread awareness before a stroke occurs, as well as follow patients who experience a stroke from arrival through discharge."

See More Articles by Pam Stout