When Hal, a 51-year-old, half-pack per day smoker, came to
Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, California with garbled speech and sensation on just one side
of his face, the emergency medical team rushed into action.
“Can you lift your arms?” asked Sarah Leon, RN. Hal’s
left arm lifted, but his right arm stayed put.
Hal’s caregivers quickly identified the warning signs of a stroke—facial
drooping, arm weakness and speech difficulty—and continued to find
red flags. One nurse shined a light in Hal’s eyes, but his pupils
remained dilated. Then, Hal’s entire body began to shake. “If
you’ve had a stroke, you’re at a 30 percent greater risk of
seizure,” Karen Canepa, RN, informed her team. Then, Leon immediately
paged the neurologist so that Hal would be sent to have a CT scan to have
a closer look at his brain.
Hal was treated with exemplary care by the team. Then, he was switched
back to “pause.” Why? Because Hal® is an advanced medical
simulation mannequin. This state-of-the art training device allows nursing
staff to hone their stroke assessment skills.
“Stroke is prevalent in the population we serve,” said neurohospitalist
Matthew Ho, MD, Queen of the Valley’s Stroke Director. “This
training will ensure all of our nurses—whether they are in the emergency
department or a patient unit—are proficient at finding risk factors
so they can make safer and faster assessments.”
“There are so many aspects of a real life situation that can be simulated
with Hal that would be impossible without him,” said Suzanne Banuelos,
RN, one of Queen of the Valley’s nurses trained to facilitate the
Nearly 450 nurses are training with Hal, thanks to an $88,020 grant provided
to the hospital by The Doctor’s Company Foundation. And Queen of
the Valley’s sister hospitals in
Humboldt County will also be using this same technology as part of St. Joseph Humboldt’s
new Clinical Academy, a training program for new and experienced nurses.
“We say that ‘time is brain,’” says Dr. Ho. “Like
many ailments, you have a better chance of recovery if the symptoms are
recognized and treated early on. Our partnership with The Doctors Company
Foundation, and the support of our community, ensures we can be at the
cutting edge of stroke care.”
And while Hal helps Napa and Humboldt be at the top of their game, treating
stroke with expert care is a hallmark throughout St. Joseph Health.
In Sonoma County,
Petaluma Valley Hospital earned an
Advanced Disease-Specific Care Certification for being an Acute Stroke
Ready Hospital from The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American
Stroke Association. The certification recognizes hospitals equipped to
treat stroke patients with timely, evidence-based care prior to transferring
them to a Primary or Comprehensive Stroke Center. Santa Rosa Memorial
Hospital is certified by The Joint Commission on Accreditation for Healthcare
Organizations (JCAHO) as a Primary Stroke Center. Achievement of certification
signifies that the services Santa Rosa Memorial provides the critical
elements needed to achieve long-term success in improving outcomes in
St. Mary in Apple Valley, California, has long been recognized by the American
Heart Association for its success in implementing a higher standard of
stroke care, and is preparing to become the only Stroke Receiving Center
for the local region.
St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, California offers state-of-the-art neuro-interventional
procedures and is home to one of Southern California’s largest groups
of neuro-certified intensivists. St. Jude is designated as one of only
a few hospitals in the state to be an Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center
by the Joint Commission and American Heart Association/American Stroke
Mission Hospital is an Orange County Emergency Medical Services designated Stroke-Neurology
Receiving Center, and the only hospital in south Orange County providing
advanced neurologic care for stroke. The American Stroke Association gave
Covenant Health a Stroke Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award.
St. Joseph Hospital, Orange offers comprehensive stroke and neurological services, including an extensive
physical rehabilitation service.
All of these efforts and more throughout St. Joseph Health point to the
many ways early treatment of stroke is saving lives. As for Hal, he has
yet to adopt healthy habits that might help reduce his risk of stroke,
but nurses remain hopeful.