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Hospital honored with stroke hero award

| May 29, 2024 12:00 AM

Earlier this month, Clark Fork Valley Hospital was awarded the Stroke Hero Award at the Annual Rocky Mountain Stroke Conference held in Helena.

Dr. Kurt Lindsay, neurologist and director of the Stroke and Telestroke Program at Logan Health, nominated CFVH for this year’s award.

The Montana Stroke Initiative Work Group selects one awardee in each of the following four categories: Individual (Doctors, Nurses, NPs, PAs, Therapists, etc.); Prehospital (EMTs, Paramedics, Ambulance Services, Fire Department Personnel, etc); Small Team (Critical Access Hospitals) and Large Team (Hospitals and Medical Centers). CFVH was the award recipient in the Small Team category that honors one Montana Critical Access Hospital each year.

This prestigious state stroke award recognizes excellence in stroke care. 

“This is a combined effort amongst our Acute Care, ER, Imaging and Laboratory teams and is a great honor,” stated Dr. Gregory Hanson, CFVH President/CEO. “Our staff work extremely hard to excel in stroke care because the lasting effects of a stroke can be devastating to a patient if they aren’t treated quickly enough.”

In 2018, the hospital began working with Kalispell Regional Medical Center, now Logan Health, to develop a telestroke program that would support neurological assessment and diagnosis via telemedicine. The program connects a neurologist at Logan Health with a patient and provider at CFVH through a secure audiovisual link when a patient presents with signs of stroke. With the use of this technology, patients can be treated mush faster than if they were transported to another hospital for care.

"This technology allows us to offer our patients the attention of specialists highly experienced in recognizing and treating stroke," Danita Grossberg, RN, Acute Care Nursing Manager explained.

The telestroke program that includes eleven telestroke sties in Montana, offers protocols that help a responding team of care providers make decisions quickly. With stroke, minutes matter. 

"Every stroke is different, and so is every patient," Grossberg said. "The initial assessment determines whether the patient can receive a clot-dissolving drug, which we can administer here. The team will also determine if the patient should be transported to a larger facility.”

Since 2020, CFVH has utilized the resource at a growing rate with 21 calls in 2022 and 38 calls in 2023. So far this year, 8 calls have already been made for stroke consultations to care for patients when time is of the essence.

"The first thing to know about stroke is how to recognize it when it's happening," says Danita Grossberg, RN, Acute Care Nursing Manager at Clark Fork Valley Hospital. "Know the signs, and if you even suspect it's a stroke, do not delay! Call 9-1-1 immediately."

Stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. During a stroke, about two million brain cells die every minute. The loss of these neurons can affect speech, memory, muscle control, vision, thought processes, and emotions. Common signs of stroke are loss of balance, blurred vision in one or both eyes, the face drooping on one side, arm or leg weakness on one side, and speech difficulty. The person having a stroke may also have a sudden severe headache and problems with memory.