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It is a little-known fact that stroke care is one of the costliest healthcare conditions globally. Experiencing a stroke is a leading precursor of serious, long-term disability, the effects of which may be prolonged with physical, emotional, social, and financial consequences not only for those affected but also for their family and friends. However, as key developments in modern medicine continue to grow, there are many forms of comprehensive stroke care available to lessen these effects and prevent the worst from happening.

The Importance of Early Onset

Early diagnosis is key to avoid severe consequences of stroke. Most stroke patients arrive at the hospital a little too late and are unable to take advantage of a clot-busting drug that significantly reduces stroke symptoms and lessens the chance of permanent disability if delivered within three hours of the onset of symptoms.

“Stroke is actually equivalent to a heart attack. If you have symptoms of chest pain, it is urgent for you to visit the hospital to receive treatment, or, you may risk cardiac arrest, or death due to a heart attack,” Dr Lee Tuan Cheong, Consultant Emergency Physician from Sunway Medical Centre explains.

Here is how you can conduct a rapid stroke screening with B.E.F.A.S.T.:

  • B – Balance (Loss of balance, headache or dizziness)
  • E – Eyes (Blurred vision)
  • F – Face (One side of the face is drooping)
  • A – Arms (Weakness in arms or legs)
  • S – Speech (Speech difficulty)
  • T – Time (Time to call for an ambulance immediately)

“The earlier you present your symptoms to us, the earlier healthcare professionals are able help you assess the severity of your symptoms, whilst being able to discuss with your family on how to proceed with the treatment,” he adds.

Teamwork is the Cornerstone of Good Outcomes

Healthcare is a multidisciplinary profession in which doctors, nurses, and health professionals from various specialties must work together, communicate often, and share resources. A successful multidisciplinary health team strives to make the most comprehensive assessment of a patient’s situation and to follow it up with a full-range plan of treatment – all so that timely and seamless care can be delivered to the patient effectively.

Stroke teams are larger than many healthcare teams, so coordination and effective collaboration are important.

A full multidisciplinary stroke team commonly consists of:

  • Pre-hospital Paramedic Team
  • Emergency Physicians
  • Neurologists and Neurosurgeons
  • Interventional Radiologists
  • Cardiologists
  • Rehabilitation Therapists and Physicians
  • Nurses and Coordinators
  • Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists
  • Dietitians
  • Psychiatrists and Clinical Psychologists

“It is important in this day and age to have a good volume of manpower with some members of the team specialising in certain areas to deliver a comprehensive amount of care. For example, you need a good paramedic team to be able to respond to an emergency in a timely manner. Because in most cases of stroke, the Door to Needle Time is crucial,” explains Dr Johan Quah, Consultant Neurosurgeon from Sunway Medical Centre.

Working with a multidisciplinary team allows you to treat the patient in a holistic manner and provide the best, comprehensive care. With each physician focused on a different aspect of the patient’s health, providers are more likely to identify areas of need, and subsequently manage those needs in an effective way.

Having a comprehensive and multidisciplinary team have proven to improve a patient’s outcome in these areas:

  • Better treatment planning and compliance
  • Greater self-management and better preventative care to stay well
  • Greater continuity of care across different care settings
  • Improved service user experience

“It is important to have a comprehensive stroke team. No patient should be left behind. Everyone should be consulted and have access to 24/7 healthcare, if not, you can’t call yourself a comprehensive stroke centre. Over here at Sunway Medical Centre, we take pride in ourselves as we fulfil all the criteria from ambulance services, paramedic services, nursing teams to A&E (Accident and Emergency),” shares Dr Quah.

With that being said, the multidisciplinary team at Sunway’s Stroke Centre are ready to help each patient on their journey towards recovery with its unique capabilities namely:

  • Cutting-edge technology
  • Dedicated 50-bed stroke wards with specially trained nurses to care for stroke patients
  • A comprehensive team of experts across various fields that consists of neurologists, interventional radiologists, emergency physicians, neurosurgeons, cardiologists and stroke nurses
  • A carefully designed post-acute care by skilled rehabilitation physicians as well as physical and occupational therapists.

Contributed by the Centre’s remarkable facilities and achievements, Sunway’s Stroke Centre is one of the first private local hospitals in Klang Valley to be awarded the World Stroke Organisation (WSO) Angels (Platinum) Award 2020. WSO Angels Awards recognize hospitals that have demonstrated clear commitment to quality stroke care and have established cultures and systems to support continuous improvement.

“There are a few criteria in which the hospital must meet in order to win the award. First, how many stroke patients were presented to your hospital and how many percent of them receive thrombolysis, thrombectomy or neurosurgery treatment. Second, how soon the treatment is given to them. There is a golden hour, from the time the patient reaches our centre till the treatment that they’re given, and all these must be done as soon as possible,” Dr Lee shares.

At Sunway Stroke Centre, time is everything.

Sunway Medical Centre is located at Bandar Sunway, Petaling Jaya. For more information on Sunway Medical Centre, visit www.sunwaymedical.com.my.

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