Awards | Health News | Neurology

Ahoskie, N.C. ECU Health Roanoke-Chowan Hospital has earned recertification as a primary stroke center by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, recognizing the hospital’s preparedness and expertise to care for stroke patients.

“I am proud of ECU Health Roanoke-Chowan’s team members and their commitment to provide high-quality stroke care to our patients and community,” said Brian Harvill, interim president of ECU Health Roanoke-Chowan, president of ECU Health Chowan Hospital and ECU Health Bertie Hospital. “Our hospital’s stroke recertification as a primary stroke center from The Joint Commission – and stroke readiness at each ECU Health hospital – represents ECU Health’s dedication to bringing a comprehensive stroke network to care for all patients across eastern North Carolina.”

Stroke is a leading cause of death in North Carolina and the leading cause of long-term disabilities. As a primary stroke center, ECU Health Roanoke-Chowan can treat and stabilize patients experiencing an acute stroke and care for more complex cases. Located in Ahoskie, North Carolina, ECU Health Roanoke-Chowan serves a rural community and is the closest emergency department for surrounding communities. As a resource for emergency care, ECU Health Roanoke-Chowan’s recertification ensures local community members have access to timely stroke care and extends the comprehensive stroke network capable of meeting the needs of all patients across eastern North Carolina.

The 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.

“Time is the most important factor when treating a stroke, so it is critical to provide stroke care close to home,” said Dr. Barry Bunn, regional emergency department medical director, ECU Health. “With eastern North Carolina’s high rates of stroke, ECU Health Roanoke-Chowan’s stroke recertification, combined with a network of stroke readiness at all ECU Health hospitals, reduces the time of treatment, the risk of mortality, permanent brain damage and other side effects including memory loss, difficulty speaking and potential paralysis.”

During the certification process, ECU Health Roanoke-Chowan 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.