When it comes to stroke, the adage “time is brain” couldn’t be truer. Every minute counts when getting stroke patients to the hospital, which is why The Valley Hospital—already a leader in stroke care—is now offering Bergen County’s only Advanced Stroke Life Support class for emergency medical services (EMS) personnel.
Presented in conjunction with the Bergen County EMS Training Center, this free, hands-on course teaches emergency personnel to assess strokes accurately and rapidly so patients can be transported to a stroke center and begin treatment as soon as possible.
Saving Time, Saving Lives
“Treatment for stroke is available, but it’s time-based—so the sooner patients get the treatment, the lesser the impact of the stroke,” says Lafe Bush, Director of Emergency Services at Valley. EMS personnel (including paramedics and EMTs) are key to helping patients receive that lifesaving treatment within the critical three-hour window.
The Advanced Stroke Life Support program gives these professionals the tools they need to assess the patient; determine whether they’re having a stroke, what type of stroke they’re experiencing and the exact time of onset; and transport them to the right stroke center. “They learn about the anatomy of the brain; various in-hospital stroke treatments; and a method of assessment known as the Miami Emergency Neurologic Deficit [MEND] exam,” Bush explains. (The MEND exam combines two commonly used stroke scales to help EMS providers assess patients easily and quickly.)
Spreading Stroke Knowledge
Bush notes that the Advanced Stroke Life Support program can have an immediate impact on pre-hospital stroke care—“Participants can take the class and implement it the same day.” Any EMS personnel from around the region—not just those at Valley—are welcome to attend.
And although the class is primarily for emergency workers, everyone in the community ultimately benefits from the Advanced Stroke Life Support program. “EMTs and paramedics live and work in the community, and when they talk to others about stroke, the information trickles down,” Bush says. “We encourage them to educate their families and co-workers about the signs and symptoms, so no one misses them.”
Sign Up Today
To learn more or register for an upcoming class, call Nancy Hortas at the Department of Emergency Services at 201-447-8693. Valley also offers stroke education classes and stroke screenings to the community throughout the year.