New cases of strokes have been increasing in the United States, particularly among younger to middle-aged adults, according to the American Heart Association. In the Rio Grande Valley, the overall case load at South Texas Health System’s acute care facilities and freestanding emergency departments has risen since 2021, with a 20% increase in stroke patient admissions at its hospitals.
To meet the increasing need while continuing to improve the quality of care provided to its stroke patients, South Texas Health System McAllen, home to a Comprehensive Stroke Center that provides the highest level of stroke care to community members, has officially opened a dedicated stroke unit aimed at providing concentrated care to patients following their treatment in the facility’s intensive care unit or dedicated neurointervention cath lab.
The new unit, featuring 30 beds, will be staffed by a dedicated group of physicians and nurse practitioners who specialize in stroke care, as well as a team of registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses and nursing assistants who underwent extensive training to care for stroke patients. Additionally, physical, occupational and speech therapists will be on hand to evaluate and treat patients who may require inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation.
With a space dedicated specifically to stroke patients, physicians and nursing staff will have a greater ability to recognize changes in the status of a patient, which will ultimately help improve the overall patient experience, including length of stay.
“Having a dedicated stroke unit in a hospital is crucial for specialized care, treatment and rehabilitation of stroke patients,” said Kennetha Foster, MSN, RN, System Chief Nursing Officer, South Texas Health System. “These units provide a multidisciplinary approach, with a team of experts working together to deliver tailored care.”
“Specialized treatments and interventions, such as thrombolytic therapy and endovascular procedures are readily available in these units,” added Foster. “Additionally, the comprehensive rehabilitation services offered in the unit will aid stroke patients in the recovery process. By focusing on specialized care, treatment and rehabilitation, dedicated stroke units significantly improve patient outcomes and quality of life.”
STHS McAllen is one of only three facilities in the Valley designated a Comprehensive Stroke Center by the Texas Department of State Health Services. With the addition of this new dedicated stroke unit, STHS is reaffirming its commitment to quality, compassionate care that the community deserves.
But this expansion of care won’t stop there. This stroke unit will work in conjunction with a soon-to-be-opened neuroscience ICU that’s currently in construction and will be located on the same floor at STHS McAllen, converting the entire level to one devoted entirely to stroke care.