May is Stroke Awareness Month: A Case Study Demonstrates How a Patient Movement Resource Makes the Difference in Time Critical Stroke Cases

*disclaimer: Mission Control’s blog is not intended to provide medical advice. Please speak with a doctor or other healthcare professional before beginning, changing, or otherwise altering your healthcare plan.

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S., killing almost 130,000 Americans every year. It’s also a leading cause of severe disability. The National Stroke Association, and others in the healthcare field, devote the month of May to learn how to prevent strokes, increase the awareness of stroke symptoms, and how and when to seek care. May was formally deemed Stroke Awareness Month in 1989 by President George H.W. Bush.

One reason stroke can be disabling — and deadly — is because any time lost during a stroke means valuable care time is lost for the patient: Time is brain. The faster the healthcare team can diagnose the patient and get them to the right facility and with the right specialists, the better their chance at a positive outcome may be. Our case study, based on a fictional example, demonstrates how using Mission Control as a patient movement resource can make a critical difference when a patient with stroke enters your facility.

Case Study: Patient Movement Resource Makes the Difference in Time-Critical Stroke Cases

The Setting

It is a busy night in the 5-bed Emergency Department (ED). The ED Providers on hand are a Registered Nurse (RN) and an Advanced Practiced Registered Nurse (APRN), managing the workload like a well-oiled machine.

The night seems normal. A little past midnight a patient is discharged back to their nursing home. The other patients are stable.

The phone rings.

The Situation

Emergency Services (EMS) is on the line with a possible stroke patient on their way with an ETA of 15 minutes.

Patient Stats 58-year-old male Vitals 190/100 Heart rate 1150-130 BPM Positive stroke score*, including slurred speech and right-sided arm drift Blood sugar 130 Weight 280 lbs. *The Cincinnati Prehospital Stroke Scale evaluates symptoms of facial droop, arm drift, and abnormal speech. If one of those signs is abnormal, there is over a 70% chance the patient suffers from a stroke.

Patient History

EMS informs you that the patient is being treated for a thyroid disorder, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia. He smokes 2 packs per day of cigarettes and is a truck driver. Home medications include thyroxine, atenolol, and statin (for low thyroid, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol).

What We Know

Patient Profile:This patient is at elevated risk for a stroke due to past medical history, being a cigarette smoker, overweight, sedentary lifestyle, and the findings of his 12-lead ECG shows the patient has intermittent atrial fibrillation with rapid ventricular response (heart in an abnormal rhythm and accelerated rate).

Next Steps

The APRN is assessing the patient. While you are drawing blood for the lab work-up, the CT technician calls and is ready for the patient. You notice other patients’ call lights on and hear on the scanner there is a two-vehicle motor vehicle accident (MVA) on Highway 36.

Priority-setting and critical thinking will be a must to get through the next several hours.

Possible Outcome — Without Mission Control

A few years ago, this situation would have felt chaotic. Stroke patients require time-intensive testing and monitoring that can keep a nurse and provider at the bedside for extended periods of time. The stroke patient’s speech is slowed, slurred, and at times garbled, so additional time is required to perform an appropriate assessment while providing compassionate care during a time-sensitive diagnosis. At the same time, we know “time is brain”, and getting the patient to and from the CT, labs drawn, NIHSS completed, takes time; all with the uncertainty of whether the patient’s condition will remain as is or decline.

Additionally, there are the needs of other patients in the ED. The nurse would be on the phone with the hospital’s transfer center to start the process of getting a neurologist to call the APRN. Furthermore, once an accepting physician was confirmed, there were more orders to give the patient a lytic (clot-dissolving) and blood pressure IV medication. The nurse is preparing the dosing of the lytic while on the phone with dispatch requesting air transport.

Multi-tasking is key, but distractions during lytic preparation is an unsafe practice.

Outcome — With Mission Control

Using Mission Control, the patient has multiple communication specialists working on his behalf, assisting with contacting and confirming the requested receiving hospital and securing appropriate transport for the patient while the nurse and APRN can for care him and the other patients. Knowing the MVA patients could arrive at any time, the care team needs to stay focused on patient care and getting patients transferred out of the ED appropriately. Mission Control staff will comment in the chatbox or call with any updates.

The patient NIHSS is 8 (stroke scale assessment) and the radiologist calls to tell the APRN the CT is clear. You know intravenous alteplase (the clot-dissolving medication) will be your next order from the APRN. The inclusion/exclusion checklist was completed, and you continue to work through the priorities of patient care in the ED. Mission Control connects the APRN and a potential receiving neurologist to discuss transferring the patient for advanced neurological services that are not provided at their hospital.

The patient was accepted by the neurologist, and it was decided by the providers to fly the patient, if possible, as they will assess him for a large vessel occlusion (the type of stroke present in this patient).

Mission Control was there to assist with getting transport arranged for this patient. As the flight crew is in the air, they started administering the clot-busting medication alteplase. We know that time is brain and getting this patient back to his family starts here with us.

Since the local EMS is out on the MVA, Mission Control arranged for another EMS agency to assist in picking up the crew at the airport. Finishing up on the transfer paperwork, the helicopter crew arrives and takes over care of the patient. Just in time, as local EMS calls to give report on the two code red patients they are bringing to the ER.

Thankfully, this hospital can handle these situations successfully thanks to the training and skill of the nursing staff and support from Mission Control.

Mission Control is a valuable resource. It assists in getting the appropriate resources for patients while allowing the staff to utilize their skills and training to stay focused on the patients.

In cases of stroke, time is brain. Mission Control helps ensure healthcare providers, EMS, and patients get access to the resources they need, when they need — when every second matters.

To learn more about Mission Control, click here.

Sources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/stroke/facts.htm

MAY is Stroke Month https://newsroom.heart.org/events/may-is-stroke-month

May is National Stroke Awareness Month: Learn the Signs https://www.columbianeurosurgery.org/news/may-national-stroke-awareness-month-learn-signs-lessen-effects/

May is National Stroke Awareness Month https://www.sophe.org/focus-areas/chronic-diseases/partnering-4-health/may-national-stroke-awareness-month/

Preventing Another Stroke https://www.stroke.org/en/life-after-stroke/preventing-another-stroke

EMS Week 2021: We Recognize EMS Professionals

We’ve all heard the sirens blare through our neighborhoods, cities, and while we’re driving to work or school. It’s the universal sound that tells us someone needs medical attention. While we peer outside our window or pull over to the side to let an emergency vehicle pass, we hold a moment of silence in our minds, hoping no one is seriously sick or injured.

This is EMS: Caring for Our Communities

The people on the frontlines of emergency services are EMS professionals, and from May 16-21, 2021, we pay particular honor to them. The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), in partnership with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT), has declared the theme for EMS Week 2021 as This is EMS: Caring for Our Communities.

During EMS week, communities and individuals are asked to honor EMS professionals for their dedication and service to their communities which, like so many healthcare professionals, has been tested as never before during COVID-19. Our local EMS are the lifeline to get sick and injured patients to a hospital or higher level of care. Many EMS personnel also have additional job duties, such as fighting and investigating fires, being on standby during sporting events, or being engaged in county emergency management exercises. During COVID-19, it’s become clearer than ever before how critical they are in our communities.

The Real-Life Impacts of a Vital Community Role

While many people work as EMS full-time, many regions in the United States rely on volunteers. Your EMS professional could be your local banker, grocer, mechanic — anyone in the community, though a common trait among EMS personnel is the strong purpose of serving their community.

In this true story, we recount the impact a rural EMT had on his community. “Dan’s” quick thinking and actions saved a school — and a community — from tragedy.

“It was a spring morning, and the K-12 school third block bell had just rung. As students settled into their seats, the fire alarm went off. As students exited their classrooms, there was Dan, a farm mechanic — and local EMT — standing at the front doors, instructing all of us to go out the South exits. Before we could ask questions, buses and cars began to line up and take us out of town. Dan had witnessed a pick-up truck hauling anhydrous ammonia, a common chemical used to fertilize the cornfields of this region, struck by another pick-up truck. If inhaled, the gas can cause chest pain, wheezing, and death in poorly ventilated areas. Due to the accident, the deadly gas was being released into the air just yards away from the school. His actions prevented what would have been a horrible tragedy.”

Dan’s actions are just one of the millions of times an EMT’s quick thinking and actions have led to positive outcomes for our communities.

Thank You, EMS Professionals

EMS provides essential support to our communities, and here at Mission Control, we want to share our appreciation and gratitude to those who continue to serve with their courage, knowledge, and passion. You can thank your local EMS personnel by sending them letters of gratitude, thank them personally when you see them in your community, and always safely pull your vehicle to the right side when they have their lights and sirens on.

Sources
https://www.emsstrong.org/

May is Trauma Awareness Month

A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, there is growing confidence we can return to normal activities like travel and vacations we enjoyed before 2020. With the excitement of hitting the open road, there is also reason to pause to ensure we play our part in keeping the roads safer for all this summer. As we venture back out into the world, we’re focusing this month’s theme on trauma in motor vehicle accidents (MVA) as a refresher for all of us to remember how to travel safely.

Stay Alert. Stay Alive.

The American Trauma Society (ATS) and The Society of Trauma Nurses (STI) have collaborated to bring trauma awareness to the public. May is Trauma Awareness Month, which brings an opportunity to share preventative measures of leading causes of MVAs. Each day at least 90 people die in motor vehicle accidents. The significant risk factors in causing fatal MVA accidents are:

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving (texting, fiddling with a radio, etc.)
  • Driving under the influence
  • Not wearing seatbelts

How to Prevent Traumatic Motor Vehicle Accidents

As you travel with your family and friends this summer, these are some ways you can decrease your chance of being injured or killed in a motor vehicle-related accident:

  • Ensure the driver of the car is well-rested, without distractions, and not under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Everyone in the vehicle should be properly secured with a seat belt or age-appropriate car seat
  • Ensure the driver adheres to speed limits and adjusts their speed to weather and road conditions

What to Do if You Witness or You’re in a Motor Vehicle Accident

If you are in or witness an accident, please call 911 immediately. Minutes matter, and getting the patient into the healthcare system will help to decrease disability and mortality of trauma patients. Whether you are driving in rural or urban areas, many EMS and hospital emergency rooms have trauma protocols in place to give you the best care available. The protocols assist with getting the injured patients stabilized and to the right level of care the first time.

Every minute counts. Mission Control is here to assist the emergency rooms in locating the appropriate resources, available specialists, EMS agencies, and any other necessary means required to transfer the patient so that the healthcare team can focus on caring for the needs of the patient.

Obviously, not all traumas occur on the roads. Read more by clicking the link below for other resources provided by the ATS and STI. Want to learn more about trauma reporting and Mission Control? Contact us to request a demo.

From everyone at Mission Control, we wish you a fun — and SAFE — summer!

Sources and Resources

Check out the ATV Safety Institute’s Readiness Checklist to see if your child is ready to drive an ATV. https://atvsafety.org/are-they-ready/

Fascinating facts about workplace injuries here https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/

Dog bites pose a serious health risk, with more than 4.5 million people being bitten by dogs each year in the U.S. At least half of those bitten are children. Here are resources on ways to prevent a dog bite: https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/pet-owners/dog-bite-prevention

Whether it’s a trip to the beach or a dip in the community or backyard pool, these swimming safety tips can help you have fun in the sun. https://www.safekids.org/poolsafety

American Trauma Society https://www.amtrauma.org/page/NTAM2021SC

Centers of Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/motor-vehicle-safety/index.html

Kansas Department of Health and Environment http://www.kstrauma.org/

COVID-19 in Kansas: A Year in Review

It’s been over a year since we first heard of COVID-19 and it began to impact not only our healthcare system but the lives of every person on the planet. At Mission Control, we’re looking back on the last year with empathy for those who have suffered, gratitude for those who have served as healthcare heroes and essential workers, and hope for a healthy future — for all of us.

At Mission Control, our goal throughout COVID-19 — and beyond — is to empower healthcare professionals and facilities with efficient, sustainable, and safe methods of patient movement. Our infographic demonstrates some of the ways in which Mission Control has helped hospitals in Kansas with COVID-19 during the past year.

Nurse’s Week 2021: We Celebrate and Honor Nurses

Nurses are a vital part of our care community and, at Mission Control, we value and appreciate their impact every day. From Thursday, May 6, through Wednesday, May 12, 2021, our country takes a dedicated week of the year to pay them particular honor for Nurse’s Week, commencing with Florence Nightingale’s birthday on May 12.

The Backbone of Our Care Communities

Nurses have always worked tirelessly to provide care. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it was clearer than ever the depth of sacrifices nurses make for their patients on the frontlines of healthcare. Nurses not only provide necessary care, but they also have significant impacts on patients’ overall well-being, experiences, and outcomes. Nurse’s Week offers an opportunity for us to honor nurses for the work they do.  

You can honor the nurses in your life, whether they are family, friends, or the nurses who have cared for you, by thanking them with a note, a video, or a thoughtful gift sent to their workplace that they can share with their coworkers.  

From everyone at Mission Control, we send immense gratitude to the incredible nurses in our communities.  

Sources
Celebrating Nurses’ Week
https://www.incrediblehealth.com/blog/celebrating-nurses-week/

Study: 186% Pandemic Spike in Nurse Demand Worsens Turnover and Stress
https://www.incrediblehealth.com/blog/study-covid-19-anniversary-nurse-impact/

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I have really enjoyed working with the knowledgeable and innovative staff within Mission Control! They have observed and created a dashboard that significantly meets our data abstraction needs. This information is in real time and we can access the data points we need very quickly. Mission Control has saved me hours of manual abstraction and I can now present this information to our physicians and leadership through creative charts and graphs. At Newman Regional Health, we are very excited to integrate Mission Control into our daily workflow and look forward to the valuable information the dashboard can provide!

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We started using Mission Control a few months ago because we were struggling with finding patient placement and transportation. Mission Control helped with that significantly. MC is very user friendly! All staff has been so kind and helpful! They are always prompt with assisting us and do a great job in keeping us up to date and informed on any progress they’re making whether that be with a phone call or a message through mission control. They continue to work until transport has been found! We would be lost without them!

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