Recognizing the prevalence of stroke-related hospital visits, Wellington Regional Medical Center made a commitment to the community to become a Comprehensive Stroke Center, which allows the hospital to care for some of the most complex cases and allows residents to receive care without having to leave the Wellington area.
WRMC is one of only 40 hospitals in Florida with this advanced designation.
“Previously, residents of Wellington and the surrounding communities were transported out of the area for stroke care,” WRMC CEO Robbin Lee said. “Now, not only can we treat our residents here in their community, we provide stroke care that follows nationally recognized guidelines that ultimately saves lives and improves the outcomes of stroke.”
The Comprehensive Stroke Center designation is given to hospitals that have distinct abilities to treat the most complex neurovascular diseases, such as stroke. WRMC’s dedicated, multi-disciplinary stroke team, which is specially trained and available to care for stroke patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, includes a neuro-interventionalist, neurosurgeon, neurologists, emergency room physicians, intensivists, critical care registered nurses and a stroke coordinator.
To support the program, WRMC invested in a state-of-the-art neurointerventional lab that features a biplane angiography system to diagnose and treat strokes and other neurovascular diseases. The new equipment provides 3D technology, allowing for optimal evaluation of the neurological vascular system for diagnostic and treatment purposes.
The neurointerventional program is led by Medical Director Dr. Juan Gomez, a board-certified radiologist with fellowship training in neurointerventional radiology, neurodiagnostic radiology and vascular/interventional radiology. Gomez performs procedures in the neurological field and has vast experience in endovascular treatment of lower extremity arterial disease, venous disease and aortic aneurism treatment.
According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA), stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, someone dies of a stroke every four minutes and nearly 800,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.
WRMC recently received the AHA/ASA’s Get with the Guidelines Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: Stroke Honor Roll. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to providing the most appropriate stroke treatment to patients according to nationally recognized guidelines.
“These quality measures are designed to help our team follow the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients,” said Alice Cruikshank, stroke coordinator of WRMC’s Comprehensive Stroke Program. “This recognition underscores the team’s hard work, but more importantly, it means we are doing the right thing for our patients.”
In an effort to educate the public about the signs and symptoms of stroke and the importance of calling 9-1-1 as soon as possible, WRMC has teamed up with the AHA/ASA as the Together to End Stroke community partner. Four-foot-tall red letters that spell out “FAST” have been touring Palm Beach County since February, warning people to look for the following signs:
F – Facial drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven or lopsided?
A – Arm weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S – Speech difficulty: Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Is the person able to correctly repeat the words?
T – Time to call 9-1-1: If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and say, “I think this is a stroke.” This will help get the person to the hospital immediately, since time is of the essence.
The FAST letters were recently on display at the Wellington Community Center, where Gomez addressed a group of nearly 60 people on the signs and symptoms of stroke.
The engaged crowd asked several important questions, understanding that spotting the signs of someone having a stroke and reacting quickly can make a big difference in the outcome of a person’s stroke.
The letters are scheduled to make appearances at the Palm Beach Zoo, Lion Country Safari and the Mall at Wellington Green, among other places throughout the county.
The hospital was also recognized in a proclamation by Wellington Mayor Anne Gerwig, declaring May as National Stroke Month and lauding the hospital for its efforts to make Wellington a healthier community through education and providing important lifesaving programs.
“Stokes can occur to anyone at any time. Leading a healthy lifestyle, including exercising, eating a balanced diet and not smoking, can reduce the risk of stroke,” Gomez said. “Recognizing the signs of stroke, calling 9-1-1 and getting someone to a hospital like Wellington Regional Medical Center, which is prepared to treat complex strokes, is extremely important. I am proud to work with WRMC and the AHA/ASA to make a difference by getting out into the community and educating our residents on stroke.”
Wellington Regional Medical Center is a 233-bed acute-care hospital celebrating more than 30 years of treating residents in Wellington and the surrounding area. For more information, visit www.wellingtonregional.com. “The whole reason I took on a job with Orangetheory two and half years ago was because of the different vibe. It’s more family based,” he said. “We don’t just go like big gyms, ‘Oh, another person in here; enjoy your workout.’ We try to get personal with our members.”
Cohen continues to add personal touches to the fitness experience at Orangetheory, calling his members to ask about their dieting outside of the gym and pushing them to meet their goals.
“If somebody comes in here and tells me they’re looking to lose 15 to 20 pounds, two weeks later I’m going to call that person and ask them how it’s going,” Cohen said. “I’m going to ask them if they’ve been coming in. I’m going to ask them if they’ve been changing a little bit of their dieting habits.”
Orangetheory Wellington is located at 2625 N. State Road 7, For more information, call (561) 296-0485 or visit http://wellington.orangetheoryfitness.com.