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Advanced stroke care: making a difference close to home

As we know, for stroke victims “Time is Brain” and – in the first moments of a stroke – prompt care close to home makes all the difference. Educating our communities on how to take immediate action when a loved one or friend is experiencing a stroke is critical.

For every minute a stroke goes untreated, the average patient loses 1.9 million brain cells. Every minute of delay in receiving the proper stroke assessment, diagnosis and intervention may lead to further brain damage and long-term disability. There is a narrow window of time in which treatment may be an option. For this reason, expedited hospital arrival by ambulance is crucial for those stroke patients who qualify for interventions such as thrombolysis and/or clot removal.

Studies have shown that early hospital transport and arrival by ambulance is associated with better patient outcomes. Community education programs are necessary for the general public to be aware of the signs of a stroke as well as the need to call 911 as soon as possible when a stroke has occurred.

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Why Beacon Health System: Stroke Certifications

Heart disease is often thought to be more of a problem for men. However, it's the most common cause of death for both women and men in the United States. Because some heart disease symptoms in women can differ from those in men, women often don't know what to look for. Understanding these unique heart disease symptoms can help you reduce your risk.

Primary Stroke Center Certification

Both Elkhart General Hospital and Memorial Hospital are certified as a Primary Stroke Centers by The Joint Commission. This means that these facilities have been recognized by a certifying entity as being uniquely prepared to perform expedient assessment and diagnostic exams on potential stroke patients. In addition, they are capable of administering clot-busting medications and closely monitoring those patients who quality for this type of intervention.

Advanced Certification as a Thrombectomy Capable Stroke Center

Memorial Hospital’s Interventional Radiology Department has the capability to perform mechanical thrombectomies on qualifying patients who have a large vessel occlusion. Additionally, the facility follows national guidelines and evidence-based practices in the care of these patients. For these reasons, Memorial is recognized as a thrombectomy capable stroke center by the Joint Commission in collaboration with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Memorial Hospital is the first and only hospital in the state of Indiana to earn the thrombectomy capable stroke center certification by the Joint Commission. The Memorial Stroke Center is among only 49 in the country to be recognized as thrombectomy capable by this certifying entity.

American Heart Association and Joint Commission Certifications

Elkhart General Hospital and Memorial Hospital are dedicated to improving the quality of stroke care and the American Heart Association’s® Get With The Guidelines® program helps us achieve that goal.

The Beacon Health System Stroke Program

By raising awareness of the signs of a stroke, combined with certified stroke care in South Bend & Elkhart, we can reassure and empower the people in our community. They can choose our facilities to provide stroke services for them or their family members when they need it most with: expedited stroke assessment and diagnostic imaging, time-critical treatment and interventions, and specialized stroke care that is close to home.

In accordance with national guidelines, the Beacon Health System Stroke Program provides ongoing education to:

  • Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in both Elkhart and St. Joseph Counties
  • Stroke Patient Navigators
  • Clinical staff who assess, diagnose, intervene and monitor stroke patients
  • Patients and families
  • The community

By strengthening our partnerships, we can improve the wellbeing of our neighbors, and build a healthier, stronger community.

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Exterior of Memorial and Elkhart General Hospitals

Bringing the Best Care Possible to the Community

Our certification provides a sense of reassurance to the people in our community empowered with the knowledge that they may choose our facility to provide stroke services for them, or their family members, should the need arise

Meet our team

Jose Luis Lopez, M.D.
Medical Director, Neurohospitalist and Stroke Programs
Beacon Health System

Mary Thomas, BSN, RN
Director of Patient Care Services
Memorial Hospital

Rebecca Bukowski, BSN, RN
Memorial Hospital Stroke Patient Navigator

Deller Laney-Franklin, BSN, RN
Memorial Hospital Stroke Patient Navigator

Kyle Berry, BSN, RN, CCRN-K
Elkhart General Hospital Stroke Patient Navigator

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Learn more about the Stroke Program at Beacon Health System. Contact us to schedule a meeting or presentation today.

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About Beacon Health System

Beacon Health System provides care to more than 4,000 patients each day in northern Indiana and southern Michigan.

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Clinical Excellence

Beacon associates and clinical teams prepare for tens of thousands of hours so they are ready when someone needs life-saving care.

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Trauma Services

Education to physicians, nurses, allied health professionals, and the public in various topics of trauma care.

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Memorial Medflight

When lives depend on rapid transport, Memorial MedFlight® is ready to answer the call.