How to Get the Best Stroke Care

Getting the best medical care you can get is important during and after a stroke (even before- prevention is important!)

If you are a family member of a stroke patient you are probably spending a great deal of time speaking with the stroke care team.Often loved ones, especially those who live far away, spend a great deal of time researching what can be done at this stage to ensure the best outcome possible.

Questions About Your Stroke Care

The biggest questions are- “Am I getting the best, most up to date stroke treatment available?” and “Is my family member or friend getting the most beneficial stroke care possible?”

Stroke Care

Stroke care has advanced tremendously over the past 50 years. The advances in emergency treatment, such as TPA and intra-arterial thrombolysis have been rapidly transforming stroke survival and improving outcomes. Additionally, stroke protocols and rapid response practices have helped keep hospitals across the country up to high standards. Specialists who medically manage stroke patients are required to have a great deal of training and experience. Medical doctors must pass a stringent state licensing and hospitals are required to follow meticulous guidelines that are reviewed regularly. If a hospital does not have the facilities required for stroke care, patients are routinely stabilized and transferred to another hospital.

Therefore, any facility that cares for your or your loved one at the time of a stroke must be authorized to do so.

Stroke Standards 

There are stroke standards that have been published by the American Academy of Neurology to  identify the most desirable measurable outcomes. This is a medically sound set of benchmarks that directs medical centers in setting goals and best methods for stroke treatment.

Medical Chart

One of the ways to follow the progress of your stroke care is to ask about the plan and to look at your chart whenever you want to. You are always permitted to read your own medical chart. It is important to note that family members are not given access to a patient’s medical chart unless the patient has given written permission. The standard medical note in a patient’s chart follows a typical format, which begins with a medical report of the problem, followed by the detailed physical examination and medical test results, a diagnosis and a plan. The plan includes a treatment approach as well as any medical tests that need to be obtained in order to get a better clarification of the diagnosis. The plan also includes the steps for monitoring of patient care treatment- such as blood tests to monitor the activity of blood thinners. Vital signs and important results are always recorded in the chart following an organized and easy to follow approach.

Neurological Changes 

As part of the assessment in the chart, detailed neurological examinations, as well as blood pressure and heart rhythm measurements, are key components used to monitor the neurological changes in function during and after a stroke.

Some medical teams use the NINDS stroke scale to help communicate progress in a uniform, standardized manner. 

Communication 

It can seem difficult to evaluate whether you or your loved one is receiving the best medical care for a stroke. Good communication with your stroke care team helps you understand the changes and the diagnosis and plan.

You can use the best patient communication methods to get the most out of your communication with your health care team.

As a patient or family member, you can also assess whether your health care providers are providing you with the kind of communication that you need. For some patients, it may take some time to find a doctor and a health care system that is a good fit for you and your family. 

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