A Publication of WTVP

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every 40 seconds someone in America will have a stroke. Four minutes after you’ve read this sentence, someone will die of a stroke. In Peoria County, the average annual stroke rate is about 185 per 100,000 people, according to the Illinois Department for Public Health. And without quick, effective treatment, the effects of stroke can be long-lasting and costly.

If you or someone you love experiences a stroke, you need to know you’re in good hands. May is American Stroke Month, and I want to take this opportunity to share with you some of the ways UnityPoint Health cares for patients who experience strokes.

It starts in our Emergency Departments. At each of our three campuses, staff members are trained to quickly recognize stroke symptoms. When we suspect a patient is having a stroke, a team is assembled quickly to provide the most appropriate care. In some cases, this means administering a potentially life-saving drug called TPA. TPA can bust the clot that causes some strokes, but it must be administered quickly. That’s why it’s so important to get to an emergency department or call 911 immediately when you suspect stroke in yourself or a loved one.

Recovering from a stroke is an individual journey for each patient. That’s why we believe it’s important to provide varying levels of care to meet any patient’s needs. On the Methodist campus, we have a 20-bed neurology unit and dedicated inpatient rehabilitation beds. At Proctor, our Transitional Care Center is designed for those who have completed inpatient care but aren’t quite ready to return home. There, each patient recovers in a private room, daily rehab is designed to get them back into their normal routines, and education is provided to help them stay well when they’re on their own. We also offer outpatient physical, occupational and speech therapy. All of this care is coordinated and meant to give patients who’ve suffered a stroke the support they need to get back on track.

Excellence in stroke treatment is a priority for us. Methodist is a certified Primary Stroke Center with the The Joint Commission. The Joint Commission's Certificate of Distinction for Primary Stroke Centers recognizes exceptional efforts to foster better outcomes for stroke care. Methodist is also an Illinois Department of Public Health Designated Stroke Center and the only local hospital to receive the American Heart Association Silver Plus Award, which recognizes consistent compliance with Quality Measures.

I remember a letter I received from a patient who had come into the Methodist Emergency Department having suffered a stroke. Her kind words spoke volumes about both our technical capability and our wonderful staff. Sherri of Peoria said: “What I want you to know is how proud I am that we have an exceptional facility like Methodist in Peoria. In every case, from those who cleaned the rooms to the doctors and nurses who took care of me, [they] were kind, caring and willing to make sure that I had whatever I needed—always with a smile on their faces. My recovery was due to the right people being in the right places at the right time, and I’ll be forever grateful.” iBi