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North Carolina has the sixth highest stroke mortality rate in the nation, and eastern North Carolina-particularly Nash and Edgecombe Counties--- have a higher incidence of stroke than other parts of the state. Now, thanks to a $10,000 grant from the NC Stroke Care Collaborative, professionals at Nash Health Care will have more educational tools available to help local citizens and health professionals reverse this alarming trend. Nash Health Care was one of 9 hospitals in North Carolina to receive a grant from the collaborative.
"We're very excited about the positive impact this grant will have on the health of our community," said Valorie Holwerda RN, MSN, Patient Education Resource Coordinator at Nash Health Care. "This grant will help us implement programs to provide additional community and staff education. We plan to give presentations to educate residents about the warning signs of stroke and when to get help. We will also produce a video featuring stroke survivors who were treated at Nash Health Care."
For the past 30 years, the counties of Eastern North Carolina have had the highest stroke death rates in the nation, and stroke is the third leading cause of death in North Carolina. In 2006, stroke caused 4,551 deaths among North Carolinians--- one death every two hours, according to information from the NC Department of Health and Human Services.
The North Carolina Stroke Care Collaborative (NCSCC) is part of a national effort to reduce the incidence of death and disability caused by stroke. The NCSCC assesses the use of best practice guidelines for stroke treatment by conducting real-time data collection on stroke treatment within North Carolina hospitals. Using these data, hospitals are able to measure and improve the quality of patient care, according to information from the collaborative's web site.
The goals of the North Carolina Stroke Care Collaborative are to:
"North Carolina is a part of a region called the ‘stroke belt.' The stroke belt is an area that has a higher incidence of stroke-related death than other parts of the country," Holwerda said. "Residents need to make positive lifestyle changes now to reduce the risk of having a devastating stroke later in life."
The key to averting some of the more debilitating effects of a stroke is to get immediate medical attention at the first sign of a stroke. Warning signs maybe include: