Northern Michigan has Top Quality Stroke Care

No matter where you live in northern Michigan, the most important thing to know about stroke is this: If you or someone you love shows signs of stroke, call 911 immediately. Do not delay and do not drive to the hospital. EMS personnel can perform a preliminary exam in the ambulance and provide key information to the hospital so the emergency team is ready for your arrival. 

Stroke is a medical emergency. It is a brain attack and happens when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. Brain cells deprived of oxygen quickly begin to die, which can result in temporary or permanent loss of speech, movement, vision, balance, and memory.

Munson Healthcare hospitals in Cadillac, Charlevoix, Gaylord, Grayling, Frankfort, Kalkaska, Manistee, and Traverse City have protocols and processes in place to quickly diagnose and evaluate a stroke.

Northern Michigan’s Primary Stroke Center

Munson Medical Center’s Stroke Program is recognized as a regional stroke center for northern Michigan and has been certified as a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission since 2012. The Stroke Program has been repeatedly recognized by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association for high quality care. Munson Medical Center received both Gold Plus Award and Target Stroke Honor Roll Elite recognition from the national association in 2018 for achieving quality standards.

Munson Medical Center’s dedicated stroke unit is staffed by clinicians with specialized training to meet the needs of stroke patients.

Munson Medical Center Recognized for Stroke Care

Munson Medical Center and its multidisciplinary stroke care team recently were honored by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association with its 2019 Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus Award and the Target Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus award.

The awards reflect the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate time-sensitive treatment based on nationally recognized, research-based guidelines tied to the latest scientific evidence.

To achieve the Gold Plus Award, the hospital’s stroke team has to meet specific quality measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients within a designated period. The Target Stroke Honor Roll Elite-Plus Award recognizes door-to-treatment time for administering clot-dissolving medication.

Why BE FAST Care Matters to Patients

A fast and effective response is critical for stroke treatment and recovery. Use of a clot-busting medication for eligible patients called Alteplase (tPA) taken soon after the onset of symptoms helps prevent or limit disability following a stroke.

Signs and Symptoms of Stroke

  • Balance problem

  • Eyes/vision problem

  • Face drooping

  • Arm weakness

  • Speech difficulty

  • Time to call 911

A Complete Stroke Team

When a patient has a stroke, expert medical attention is needed immediately, so it is critical to be fast. A multidisciplinary team works together to provide the best care possible, from arrival at the Emergency Department, through treatment, rehabilitation, and recovery. The team includes two board-certified neurohospitalists who oversee care of stroke patients in the hospital and are available around the clock for consultations.

Members of the stroke team include:

“I love the interactions I have with patients, physicians, and other professionals on our multidisciplinary stroke team. Everybody pitches in when we want to make changes or improvements. It’s really a gratifying, stimulating place to work.”

  • Neurohospitalist Kersti Bruining, MD

Stroke Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation can begin immediately while the patient is still in the hospital. Before a stroke patient leaves the hospital, a case manager will meet with the patient and caregivers to talk about home care and outpatient rehabilitation needs, making sure the patient has all of the care and services needed to continue healing and recovery.

Rehabilitation services are an important part of recovery and are available at all Munson Healthcare hospitals in Cadillac, Charlevoix, Frankfort, Gaylord, Grayling, Manistee,  and Traverse City. Our multidisciplinary rehab teams take a patient-centered approach and work together to ensure the best possible outcome.

Preventing a Stroke

A stroke can happen to anyone at any time and any age. Up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented. Here are a few ways to help prevent stroke:

  • Maintain a healthy weight

  • Eat a balanced diet of vegetables, whole fruits, whole grains, proteins, low-fat dairy

  • Exercise for 30 minutes five times a week by walking, biking, or taking a class

  • Stop smoking (smoking doubles your risk of stroke)

  • Drink alcohol in moderation – two drinks a day for men, one drink a day for women

Risk Factors for Stroke

Some risk factors are treatable by medications and special diets. Talk to your doctor about ways you can reduce your risk of stroke if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Atrial fibrillation

  • Carotid artery disease

  • Circulation problems

  • Diabetes

  • High blood pressure

  • High cholesterol

  • Obesity

  • Sedentary Lifestyle


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