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Franciscan Health Olympia Fields redesignated as Acute Stroke Ready hospital

Franciscan Health Olympia Fields has been redesignated as an Acute Stroke Ready hospital by the Illinois Department of Public Health, the hospital announced today.

“We serve a somewhat aging community and with that comes an increased risk of stroke,” said Vernell Johnson III, MD, chief medical officer and vice president of medical affairs at Franciscan Health Olympia Fields. “Our community needs to be able to go to a facility that can treat potential strokes immediately and with this designation, that is exactly what we provide for the patient.”

Acute Stroke Ready hospitals serve as the first stop for patients suspected of having a stroke. Franciscan Health Olympia Fields is one of just two hospitals in the South Suburbs with the designation.

“When patients come in and are suspected of having a stroke, it’s all about rapid assessment,” Franciscan Health Olympia Fields Stroke Nurse Navigator Keirra Johnson, CCRN-BSN said.

Johnson said the benchmark for an Acute Stroke Ready hospital is 45 minutes from the time a patient walks in the emergency department door to having their CT scan ordered, performed and back to the emergency department physician for evaluation.

“We have high expectations and we meet or exceed those goals,” he said.

There are two types of strokes, those with bleeds and those without. For the last decade, Franciscan Health Olympia Fields has partnered with RUSH University Medical Center for bedside telehealth stroke evaluations from RUSH neurologists and local clinical physician partners for patients who are in need of stroke management.

If the telehealth evaluation determines the patient is a candidate for tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) — a clot-busting medication used to treat strokes in the early stages — it can be administered quickly thereafter.

“We have a high rate of giving tPA, which is a good thing,” Johnson said. “To have the RUSH neurologists available to do the stroke evaluations is a big benefit for us and our patients.”

Johnson said the Acute Stroke Ready redesignation keeps Franciscan Health Olympia Fields, “as the flagship for the healthcare industry here and allows us to meet the community’s changing needs.”

“The bottom line is, we’re ready for this community,” he said.

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