Stroke Awareness: N.C. Stroke Association Is the Catalyst for Innovative Stroke Programs in North Carolina's Rural Communities

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 General News
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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., May 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- North Carolina is referred to as part

of the Stroke Belt's "buckle," meaning the state's death rates from stroke are up to three times the national average. To reduce the incidence and impact of stroke, the N.C. Stroke Association collaborates with local hospitals to bring innovative
stroke programs into their rural communities.

"Small, rural hospitals often work with a very lean infrastructure and have limited resources to develop programs for stroke education and follow-up," says Carolyn Ezzell, Community Services Coordinator for Duplin General Hospital in Kenansville, N.C., a rural community in southeastern North Carolina. "Our goal is to see stroke death rates decline in our county, and the resources available from NCSA have allowed us to work toward that goal."

The N.C. Stroke Association assists hospitals in broadening their reach through stroke programs and protocols. The NCSA Stroke Risk Identification Program addresses stroke screening, prevention and education. The NCSA Beyond the Hospital program addresses education on avoiding future strokes, post-stroke services and follow-up. In addition, the NCSA Partnership Grant Program assists N.C. hospitals in funding these programs in their communities.

"The Stroke Risk Identification screenings have benefited the community tremendously by allowing us to educate participants about stroke awareness, stroke prevention and the importance of knowing their numbers," said Ezzell.  "And, the data NCSA provides back to us is very useful in showing the need for continued community service programs around stroke awareness."

Onslow Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville, N.C., uses the NCSA Stroke Risk Identification and Beyond the Hospital programs to evaluate their stroke initiatives, make changes to improve stroke care in the hospital and establish a strong community presence. "Many of the patients participating in the NCSA Stroke Risk Identification program had no idea they had high cholesterol, hypertension or diabetes," says Mallory Antico, Stroke Nurse Coordinator.

Maria Parham Medical Center in Henderson, N.C. utilizes NCSA's Beyond the Hospital program and provides all of its stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA) patients with the Beyond the Hospital educational manual. "Education is a key factor as we continuously strive for better outcomes for our stroke patients," says Jan Parhan, Maria Parham's Stroke Coordinator.  "The NCSA Beyond the Hospital program is a great educational tool and provides the follow-up data that allows us to see how effective it has been."

Ezzell of Duplin General Hospital says the NCSA programs allow small, rural hospitals to provide better care in their community. "Our focus is to provide the highest quality care possible for our patients, and NCSA helps us succeed in doing that," she explains.

About the N.C. Stroke Association

The North Carolina Stroke Association is a 501 (c) 3 organization founded in 1998 by a group of physicians and lay people to address the state's increasing prevalence of stroke and its attendant disabilities. For more information, visit

SOURCE North Carolina Stroke Association

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