Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC) Regional Telestroke Program, also known as the KPNC Stroke Express, emergently responds not just to patients who present to the Emergency Department with suspected stroke but also to inpatient stroke alerts.
The program remotely enables a stroke neurologist to be at the patient’s bedside within minutes using the Care Agility Carts or the remote Tele-Critical Care monitors, virtual computerized platforms with high-quality audio and visual features allowing for two-way communication. Nurses are essential in ensuring timely treatment, starting with the initial communications with Emergency Medical Services and Emergency Department triage, and pivotal in treating inpatient stroke alerts.
With a stroke, time is of the essence. For each minute during an ischemic stroke, approximately 1.9 million neurons are permanently lost. The two primary emergent treatments, intravenous thrombolytics and mechanical thrombectomy are time-limited, with earlier treatment associated with better patient outcomes.
Over the past year, the team treated 3,207 stroke alerts, of which 978 people received IV thrombolytics and 443 received mechanical thrombectomy.
According to Elizabeth Scruth, PhD, RN, CCNS, FCCM, Regional Executive Director, “Our program is nationally recognized for providing high-quality care, ensuring stroke patients receive timely and specialized care around the clock regardless of location. We are proud that 79% of all patients who receive IV thrombolytics are treated within
30 minutes of ED arrival. This helps to ensure that our members have the best chance of having good functional outcomes.”
Stroke coordinators and stroke champions at our medical centers also participate in numerous community events each year to educate our members and others to recognize signs and symptoms of a stroke, and the need to call 911.