While some people recover completely, stroke remains the fifth leading
cause of death in the United States. However, research studies and clinical
practice show that comprehensive stroke care—including strong leadership
from a full-time stroke coordinator—can greatly improve a patient’s
return to home, family and loved ones.
That’s why having a dedicated stroke coordinator has become a standard
of care over the last decade in leading hospitals throughout the world—including
Mission Hospital, the only hospital in south Orange County providing advanced neurologic
care for stroke.
“One of my most important jobs is to help families cope with their
loved one’s stroke,” says Diana Tai, RN, Stroke Coordinator at the
Mission Neuroscience Institute at
“That starts here at the hospital—making sure the family understands
exactly what’s happening, making sure the care team is doing everything
necessary, and confirming that it’s all properly coordinated.”
Stroke coordinators usually have nursing training. Their role is to help
the stroke patient from admission to discharge from the hospital. They
are equal parts caregiver, patient and family advocate, and in-house expert
on all aspects of stroke care. They are responsible for clinical procedures,
staff training, and data collection to monitor the success of the program.
The stroke coordinator can also play a crucial role in the transition from
hospital to home care, which can be particularly difficult for those who
are older. “The incidence of stroke is higher among older Americans,
and this is an important consideration for our community since we have
a high proportion of older residents,” says Tai.
Relationships between stroke survivors and their loved ones often become
strained as family members struggle to adapt to their new caregiving responsibilities.
The disruption is often hardest with spouses—but all family relationships
can suffer from the stress caused by the victim’s reduced capabilities
or behavioral changes.
The key to success is individualized care in familiar surroundings from
family members who are fully trained and have all the necessary information
and support—including access to counseling and therapy.
For Tai, ensuring that the survivor’s family gets that training and
support is all in a day’s work. She also has a hand in Mission Hospital’s
community outreach, teaching members of the community how to tell if someone
is having a stroke—and what to do about it.
The work of Tai, and the entire team of stroke experts at Mission Hospital,
is all part of the hands-on, individualized patient care that anchors
the Mission Neuroscience Institute. Mission Hospital is a Primary Stroke
Center, recognized by the Joint Commission for following rigorous national
standards and guidelines that can significantly improve outcomes for stroke
patients. Mission Hospital is also an Orange County Emergency Medical
Services designated Stroke-Neurology Receiving Center.
To learn more about exceptional neurological care at the Mission Neuroscience
here or call (877) 459-3627.
Symptoms of a stroke can include sudden severe headaches, numbness or paralysis,
vision problems, and sudden difficulty walking or talking. A stroke occurs
when part of the brain is deprived of blood—either because of a
blocked blood vessel (ischemic stroke) or bleeding in the brain (hemorrhagic stroke).
When it comes to stroke, remember to think FAST.