The new stroke unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital is ready to accept patients.
The announcement of the impending opening of the newly earmarked unit came from Medical Neurologist with the Barbados National Registry, Professor David Corbin.
A member of a panel at a Registry discussion on Who’s Getting Heart Attacks and Strokes In Barbados? Findings from the BNR, Corbin said that one of the medical wards had been converted to house the island’s first stroke unit.
He said one of the reasons was that studies showed such care could enhance the patient’s chances.
“Ward C10, which is a medical ward, has actually been converted and is ready now to accept beds. It is right now empty, so we are at the point right now where we are actually going to populate this ward with patients who suffer from strokes only and we will focus the care of patients on that ward.
“All the staff, all the medical staff — dietician, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, myself, rehabilitation specialist — we all will be working together to maximise the patient’s rehabilitation potential. This will be a first for the public because … studies show that if you concentrate your resources in one geographical space called a stroke unit, you improve the outcome of stroke patients,” he said.
Addressing questions related to care for strokes in the island, the neurologist stated that care really begun from home, with the recognition that the individual was having a stroke and then the proceeding rapid treatment of the patient.
Each minute a patient went without treatment, he said, meant that thousands of brain cells were dying. Ideally, he noted that a patient suffering a stroke should arrive at the hospital within an hour.
Shortly before, Director of the BNR, Angela Rose, had stated that a 2009/2010 study the did revealed that there was need for better care of stroke patients.
She had noted that a CT scan was a crucial part of the treatment on arrival and the study showed that about 31 per cent received that more than 24 hours after their event. The study had enabled them to begin providing educational seminars for professionals, Rose said, including in acute stroke management.
Corbin said too that they were trying to minimise the times by assigning “treatment pathways” for patients, detailing the care they should receive first from the emergency response crew, to getting them to hospital quickly.
It was one of the reasons, he said that the increased number of ambulance locations, along Highway 2A and in St. Philip would be crucial as well. (LB)