In 2013, TriStar Skyline Medical Center became the first hospital in Tennessee to receive Advanced Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Centers from the Joint Commission and The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. They are now one of 59 hospitals nationwide to receive the certification including Vanderbilt University Hospital and Knoxville’s Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center and UT Medical Center. Complex Stroke Centers are recognized as industry leaders and are responsible for setting the national agenda in highly specialized stroke care.“Stroke is the leading cause of disability, and Skyline really wanted to push forward with decreasing that,” said Michelle Bertotti, RN, unit director for Neuroscience and Neurointensive Care at TriStar Skyline Medical Center. “Immediate intervention is essential because time loss is brain loss.”The hospital provides 24/7 comprehensive stroke care including neurology, neurosurgery and radiology so patients receive the same specialized care day or night. That distinction means TriStar Skyline’s interventional radiologists are able to administer IV tPA, the enzyme that dissolves blood clots, four to eight hours following stroke rather than the standard three-hour window available at most hospitals.
“What we look at is a very detailed stroke scale that includes when symptoms started,” Bertotti explained. “We have opportunities for patients who may not be a match at other hospitals … and being able to treat them up to eight hours is a huge lifesaving opportunity.”Specialized services also include a 12-bed Neuro ICU, a dedicated stroke unit and a 41-bed inpatient rehab center. The Rehab Center at TriStar Skyline, which is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, starts working with patients from day one. Their average length of stay for stroke patients from admission through rehab is 17.7 days.
The hospital also provides advanced continuing education for ICU, neurology and emergency staff, and holds multi-disciplinary neurovascular conferences to review complex cases. Working closely with patients and their families to offer stroke and brain aneurysm support groups and to promote stroke awareness within the community is another priority.
“From the community standpoint, education is key,” Bertotti said. “We want people to know warning signs of stroke, the importance of calling 911, and not ignoring symptoms.”
Bertotti noted TriStar Skyline also is pursuing Level 2 trauma status, which she expects to significantly increase the number of patients admitted with brain injury.
“As we plan to grow our neuroscience program overall, trauma will definitely be a piece of that that and our technology and equipment will grow as we begin taking in a higher volume of patients,” Bertotti said.
TriStar Skyline Support Groups:All support groups are free and held on the campus of TriStar Skyline Medical Center, located at 3441 Dickerson Pike in Nashville.Stroke – available to stroke survivors, their families and caregivers. The monthly meetings are designed to provide a support system to survivors and community education and awareness. Meetings are held monthly on the first Monday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.Brain Aneurysm – same as above, but held every two months. Call or visit the website for dates/times. Grief – a healthy resource for coping with the loss of a loved one. The group offers emotional support and tips for coping with grief and loss. It is held monthly on the third Thursday from 5 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.