Awards | Health News | Neurology

Roanoke Rapids, N.C. – The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association has recertified ECU Health North Hospital as a primary stroke center by recognizing the hospital’s preparedness and expertise to provide timely and high-quality care for stroke patients.

“I am grateful to our team members across all levels and services for their commitment and diligent work that allows ECU Health North to continue to be designated a primary stroke center,” said Jason Harrell, president of ECU Health North Hospital. “Providing high-quality stroke care close to home is central to our mission of improving the health and well-being of eastern North Carolina. We are proud to be part of the top-notch neurological services provided at ECU Health across the region, which includes a strong network of expert stroke care.”

Stroke is a leading cause of death in North Carolina and the leading cause of long-term disabilities. According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, both Halifax and Northampton counties have higher incidences of strokes compared to the North Carolina average. As a primary stroke center, ECU Health North can treat and stabilize patients experiencing an acute stroke and care for more complex cases. As part of stroke readiness by all hospitals in the ECU Health system, this certification is symbolic of a comprehensive stroke network capable of meeting the needs of all patients across eastern North Carolina.

The severity and likelihood of having a stroke in North Carolina is significantly higher than the rest of the country as a whole. North Carolina is about 8 percent worse for stroke mortality than the national average, and in eastern North Carolina, that risk is even greater.

“Immediate treatment of strokes can minimize the long-term effects of a stroke and even prevent death,” said Dr. Barry Bunn, regional emergency department medical director, ECU Health. “With our region’s high rates of stroke and mortality from stroke, ECU Health North’s stroke recertification demonstrates our proven results of reducing the time of treatment, risk of mortality, permanent brain damage and other disabilities.”

During the certification process, ECU Health North was evaluated on performance measures in stroke care, including education for patients and families on stroke risk factors and recognizing symptoms of stroke. Other performance measures included staff education on stroke protocols and the appropriate prescription of medications to address stroke risk factors such as elevated cholesterol and blood pressure.