The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association has announced a commitment of $6.5 million to expand and enhance stroke care in Nebraska, including a $5.35 million grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.
The grant from the trust will support the association's three-year Mission: Lifeline Stroke initiative, which works to develop systems of care that improve outcomes for heart attack and stroke patients by connecting hospitals, emergency medical services and first responders, communications and regulatory agencies, state and local government, and payors into a smoothly integrated system that reinforces the use of evidence-based guidelines in treating stroke patients in a timely and effective manner.
Stroke is the fourth most prevalent cause of death in Nebraska, with more than thirty-four hundred strokes accounting for nearly eight hundred deaths annually in the state. Approximately thirty-seven thousand Nebraskans (3 percent) are living with stroke-related disabilities.
Building on the gains achieved by the Nebraska Stroke Advisory Council, the initiative will work to strengthen collaboration in the state among hospitals, individual ambulance services, the Nebraska Department of Health, and other stakeholders and enhance critical elements of the stroke system of care, including a system-wide data tool for assessing protocols used throughout the continuum of care; coordination of treatment guidelines for EMS and hospital personnel; local plans for rapid transport and/or inter-facility transfer of stroke patients; strategies for reducing barriers to access and quality of telemedicine and rehabilitation care; a peer-to-peer stroke survivor support network; and a public education campaign focused on recognition of the signs and symptoms of stroke and the need to activate the 9-1-1 system.
"The Mission: Lifeline Stroke initiative will help us better coordinate stroke care, which will mean better outcomes for patients, and more lives saved," said James Bobenhouse, a neurologist and stroke medical director at CHI St. Elizabeth and Bryan Health. "Stroke treatment is time-sensitive, so getting patients proper treatment faster, especially in rural areas, is crucial."