Many medical emergencies require some care and precautions if the patient happens to be far from a hospital. These precautions are referred to as pre-hospital treatment. Adopting these pointers can mean all the difference between life and death in some cases, such as for somebody who has suffered a stroke. Given the seriousness of the patient’s condition, there is a narrow window for treatment. Therefore, pre-hospital providers should take quick and rapid action in order to stem the flow of further deterioration in the patient’s condition.
It is said that strokes are the third-most leading cause of deaths in the US, which is why there is so much emphasis on the timely detection and treatment of this condition from ordinary folks. Calling 911 is the first essential step but in the time it takes for help to arrive, there are certain things that can be done to improve the chances of survival of the patient. The whole process of pre-hospital treatment can be broken down into these major categories:
It is important to know the symptoms as well as the conditions that can help recognize a stroke. The emphasis here should be on early detection. EMS personnel may have brought awareness about this issue in their communities. However, it could be more beneficial if they raised awareness about this issue in public circles. The more people know what to look out for, the better.
People should know that the first call of action is to call the emergency services, such as 911. The role of emergency rescue services should never be ruled out. Calling for dispatch early and efficiently makes all the difference. Similarly for EMS dispatch services, emergency protocols should be strengthened and optimized for dealing with such eventualities properly and swiftly.
As the patient goes in the emergency services van, en route to the hospital, the EMS personnel should demonstrate robust competency in all matters pre-hospital. It can be in the due assessment and management of potential stroke victims that can help cut down on time and care that awaits them in the hospital. In some cases, pre-hospital delivery time can take care of the issues altogether. This is the time when initial patient stabilization can occur.
The smooth transition of a potential stroke patient from a pre-hospital mode to patient care at the hospital is important. This can result in cutting the level of bureaucratic inefficiencies that hospitals can be riddled with, leading to stroke care and intervention at the earliest. EMS personnel can get in touch with the primary healthcare providers and iron out the modalities of treatment on the way.
These are some of the important things for pre-hospital providers to be aware of in case of stroke victims:
- Check the patient’s breathing and circulation patterns. Difficulty in breathing stems from the airways of the patient being obstructed.
- Apply oxygen therapy in case they have trouble breathing.
- Do a neurological exam to assess the patient.
- The use of thrombolytic therapy in the hospital has a narrow therapeutic timeframe so it is important to determine when the patient’s symptoms first manifested.
- Keep an eye on the patient’s blood sugar levels. Hypoglycemia can cause stroke symptoms.
- A baseline 12-lead ECG should be maintained to determine any arrhythmias.
- Establish in IV route but do not give dextrose containing fluids such as D5W.
- Always update the receiving Emergency Department in order to ensure the staff is ready for a stroke victim’s arrival in advance.
- Start an IV but avoid administering large amounts of fluids as they can worsen the patient’s condition.
- Do not give dextrose, unless the patient is hypoglycemic.
- Waste no time sitting around. Immediately transport the patient. Speed is vital for the most optimal patient outcome so don’t delay the transport. Certain medications that are to be
administered in the hospital have a small effectiveness timeframe.