December 4, 2017

Karen Gorby Provides Education on Stroke and Salutes Family Caregivers

By Karen Gorby
President and CNO, Angel Medical Center

As we begin the holiday season – a time for family, gratitude and celebration – I want to thank you for allowing Angel Medical Center to care for you and your families. I also join in the gratitude our community shares with me for our exceptional providers who are the heart of this hospital. And, I’d like to acknowledge the loved ones who provide so much care to our patients during their stay with us, and after they leave our hospital.

Family caregivers are essential to a patient’s wellbeing, especially when it comes to a health crisis like stroke. Here in western North Carolina like everywhere, strokes represent a significant health problem. There’s good news though because 80% of strokes are preventable, and high blood pressure, a major contributor to stroke, is very treatable.

Proudly, Angel Medical Center is recognized by the Joint Commission as an Acute Stroke Ready Hospital. This designation means that we have a dedicated stroke treatment program with specially trained providers, a partnership with local EMT providers, and telemedicine capabilities that allow us to communicate remotely with experts at Mission Hospital, a Comprehensive Stroke Center. These programs, along with our MAMA helicopters, ensure that stroke patients receive the best – and fastest – care available.

If you suspect someone is suffering a stroke, remember to think FAST:

  • Face: If the person tries to smile but one side of their face droops
  • Arms: If the person attempts to raise them but one drifts downward
  • Speech: If it is slurred/unclear
  • Time: If the person experiences one or a combination of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately to preserve as much brain function as possible

Circling back to family caregivers, they are not forgotten as Mission Health offers an annual weekend devoted to the wellbeing of stroke survivors and their caregivers called Retreat and Refresh Stroke Camp, which is available to our community members. Angel Medical Center also hosts a monthly brain injury support group, led by our Physical Therapy team, where patients can share experiences and get information in a supportive environment.

Community member Jeff Butler suffered a stroke precursor, or transient ischemic attack (TIA), and it was a family member’s quick response that proved life-saving. “I’m lucky my wife considered my sudden speech problem serious and insisted I get treated,” Jeff said. “These symptoms often clear up on their own, but if ignored, set one up for a true stroke. After my treatment, my nurse Amanda explained that I needed to pay close attention to my health, and make lifestyle changes to lower the risk that it would happen again, and I have. I’m so impressed with the level of training it’s obvious that all Angel Medical Center staff receive.”

We at AMC recognize the vital role family caregivers play in the lives of our patients, and that it truly takes a village to help patients heal. That is why we will always strive to provide care that is not only patient-centered, but also family-centered.

Click here to learn more about Jeff Butler’s story.

Karen S. Gorby, RN, MSN, MBA, CENP, FACHE, is the President/Chief Nursing Officer of Angel Medical Center. Gorby is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). For nearly three decades, she has served hospitals and health systems in Ohio before assuming her role at Angel Medical Center. Gorby received her MSN from Saint Joseph’s College in Standish, Maine, and her MBA from Wright State University in Fairborn, Ohio.