Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital Earns Certification as a “Stroke Ready” Facility
Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital has recently been certified as a “Stroke Ready” facility by Santa Barbara County Emergency Medical Services. This official designation allows paramedics to deliver North County patients who are at risk of stroke directly to Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital where they can begin receiving treatment immediately.
The road to achieving the Stroke Ready designation began in January 2016 when Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital launched its Tele-Stroke program which provides remote specialized neurological evaluations to patients who come to the Emergency Department with stroke or neurological symptoms. In June 2018, the Joint Commission certified the hospital as a Stroke Ready facility, and Santa Barbara County Emergency Medical Services provided the final designation on October 31.
When a patient arrives at the Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital Emergency Department with stroke symptoms, the “stroke protocol” is implemented with a CT scan and lab work done immediately. In collaboration with the emergency room physician, the on-call neurologist connects via a telemedicine platform using a mobile computer with medical grade video, audio and diagnostic capability, which allows the physician to conduct an acute stroke consultation to determine the patient’s treatment.
In specific instances, stroke patients can be given a de-clotting drug therapy called “tissue Plasminogen Activator” (tPA) within the vital 45-minute window to reduce brain damage. Prior to initiating this program, when the hospital did not have access to on-call neurologists for treatment of stroke, all patients with stroke symptoms were sent to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for diagnosis and treatment. 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 major philanthropic support from the community, including generous grants from The Wood-Claeyssens Foundation and the Elaine F. Stepanek Foundation.