Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital is now a certified “Stroke Ready” facility.
The recognition comes from Santa Barbara County Emergency Medical Services.
This allows paramedics to deliver North County patients at risk of a stroke directly to Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital where they can receive immediate treatment.
The process behind earning this Stroke Ready designation began in January 2016 when the hospital launched its Tele-Stroke program. It provides remote specialized neurological evaluations to patients with stroke or neurological symptoms.
When a patient comes to the Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital Emergency Department with stroke symptoms, the “stroke protocol” begins with a CT scan and immediate lab work. The on-call neurologist and the emergency room physician use a telemedicine platform using a mobile computer with a medical grade video, audio, and diagnostic capability to conduct an acute stroke consultation.
In some cases, stroke patients can receive a de-clotting drug therapy called “tissue Plasminogen Activator” (tPA) to reduce brain damage. Before this program, patients with stroke symptoms were sent to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. Officials say this delayed or precluded treatment for blood blockages in the brain.
“With the Tele-Stroke program and Stroke Ready certification, Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital is saving lives and providing improved patient outcomes for patients suffering from a stroke,” said Wende Cappetta, Vice President of Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital. “In addition to treating stroke patients, this technology has provided the emergency room physicians with greater ability to diagnose and treat other neurologic conditions including seizure, intracranial hemorrhage, syncope, concussion, and dizziness.”
The Tele-Stroke Program has received support from the community, including grants from The Wood-Claeyssens Foundation and the Elaine F. Stepanek Foundation.