Becoming the best community hospital in North Carolina

Kerry Watson, President

1306_snclr-dk_8434For more than three decades, Duke Regional Hospital has been committed to caring for you and your loved ones. Today I am delighted and honored to share Duke Regional is the leading community hospital in North Carolina.

According to the 2013-14 Best Hospitals rankings by U.S. News & World Report, Duke Regional ranked fourth out of 147 hospitals in North Carolina, and third out of 19 hospitals in the Raleigh-Durham metro area, which includes Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh. In addition, Duke Regional was ranked nationally in diabetes and endocrinology as well as high performing in nine areas, including cancer; ear, nose and throat; gastroenterology and gastrointestinal surgery; geriatrics; nephrology; neurology and neurosurgery; orthopaedics; pulmonology and urology.

For 24 years, U.S. News & World Report has graded hospitals nationally and in 16 adult specialties based on quality data provided by the federal government. Criteria include patient safety, patient survival rate, quality of care and reputation among physicians. To make the Best Hospitals list, a hospital must stand out in the way its specialists care for tough cases. Only 15 percent of hospitals are recognized for their high performance as one of their region’s best, and just 3 percent of all hospitals earn a national ranking in any specialty. These rankings are important because they offer much-needed assistance in making the difficult decision about where to go to get care for complex medical conditions.

Becoming the best community hospital in North Carolina is a significant milestone, not only for our institution and team but also for our community. Our mission and commitment is to care for each and every person who walks through our doors, with the promise of providing the top-quality care you expect from our experienced clinical and support teams.

Now, as the best community hospital in the state, our promise to you is stronger than ever.

Durham Regional offers support for stroke survivors and caregivers

Several years ago, Dashia Thorpe suffered a stroke while at home in New York. Dashia went to the hospital and learned the stroke had caused left-side weakness. This limited her to walking with a cane or using a motorized chair to get around, and made her second floor apartment a challenge.

Dashia eventually relocated to Durham, North Carolina, where she found a home that could accommodate her needs as well as a new physician, a new school for her son and a new support group. She attended her first stroke support group at Durham Regional in October 2010.

adult helping senior in hospital“The stroke support group at Durham Regional is an outlet for me,” Dashia explains. “It is nice to be able to share my story and hear from others. It is also a good place to get information about new products and services available for people with needs like mine.”

Today, Dashia continues to attend the group to offer support to her fellow survivors.

Read more of Dashia’s story at durhamregional.org/stroke.

The stroke support group at Durham Regional Hospital offers education, support and resources for individuals who have been affected by stroke. Survivors, family members, caregivers and anyone else interested are welcome. This support group meets the second Monday of each month from 1-2:30 pm. To register, visit durhamregional.org/events.

Caring for stroke patients at Durham Regional

Shannon Chesney, RN, Emergency Department, is part of a team that treats stroke patients every day. She is also a member of Durham Regional Hospital’s stroke committee, which is working to continuously improve outcomes and stay abreast of current trends and best practices in stroke patient care.

“In our Emergency Department (ED) we often see stroke patients who wait to come in because they are in denial about what is happening to them or they think they will feel better in a day or so,” Shannon explains. “If patients come to the ED immediately after they notice stroke symptoms, they have a better chance for a more positive outcome. ”

Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is a clot-busting drug that can be administered to patients who are experiencing a stroke within three hours of the onset of symptoms. According to the American Stroke Association, if given promptly, tPA can significantly reduce the effects of stroke and reduce permanent disability. Unfortunately, only 3 to 5 percent of stroke patients reach the hospital in time to receive it.

ClockWhen stroke patients arrive at Durham Regional Hospital quickly after symptoms begin, they will be evaluated by a physician. If the physician believes a patient is having a stroke, a “Code Stroke” is called. This is an alert that goes to all hospital departments involved in stroke patient care. The patient becomes the number one priority, receiving a CT scan, IV, neurology checks, vital sign monitoring and a tPA within 60 minutes of arrival if he or she qualifies. From there the patient is monitored for 24 hours in the Critical Care Unit and then transferred to the stroke unit.

“In the past few years we have done an outstanding job working together to improve stroke patient care at Durham Regional,” says Chesney. “We continuously work to improve processes and even received certification as a Primary Stroke Center from The Joint Commission in 2012. The way we coordinate with departments in the hospital, like CT, Laboratory and Pharmacy, as well as communicate with local EMS is fabulous. I would bring my own father here.”

May is stroke awareness month.
Stroke warning signs include the sudden onset of

  • numbness or weakness of the face or limbs
  • confusion or trouble speaking
  • dizziness or loss of balance
  • trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • difficulty walking
  • sudden severe headache

If you notice any of these symptoms, call 911. For more information, visit durhamregional.org/stroke.

Stroke support group helps healing

Chris Stephens’ life was changed when he arrived home from work to find his wife lying on the floor. Rosie had suffered a massive stroke.

After several days in the Intensive Care Unit at Duke University Hospital, Rosie’s condition began to stabilize, and she was later transferred to inpatient rehabilitation for physical, occupational and speech therapy. Rosie could not walk or use her left arm and had trouble swallowing.

About two weeks before Chris was scheduled to return to work, Rosie was diagnosed with pneumonia and admitted to Greenery Rehabilitation Center in Durham.

There Chris noticed remarkable improvement in Rosie’s health and spirit. She was fed throughout the night by a G-tube. “Rosie gained weight and was now able to give great effort during her therapy sessions and enjoyed them,” said Chris. “She also enjoyed helping the other residents, baking cookies for them and leading board games during recreational therapy.” Chris could return home at night, knowing Rosie was well taken care of.

As Rosie’s health continued to improve, she and Chris began attending the stroke support group at Teer House. The support group became an important part of the healing process for both Rosie and Chris.

For the full story and to learn more about Durham Regional’s stroke support group, visit durhamregional.org. Then check this blog each week in May for a new story from a stroke patient or caregiver as part of National Stroke Awareness Month.

Stroke is the number four cause of death and the leading cause of disability in American adults. During National Stroke Awareness Month in May, learn the symptoms of stroke, and make healthy lifestyle choices to lower your risk. If you or someone you know has sudden confusion, numbness of the face or arm or trouble speaking, call 911 right away.

Stroke is a life-altering experience

Al Carson was driving to work when he felt a tingling in his cheek. As he began to lose sensation in his body, he had to pull over at a convenience store. Carson fell getting out of his car, and attendants rushed to call 911.

Carson was taken to Durham Regional Hospital’s emergency department where he was treated for a stroke. The stroke left him paralyzed on the entire right side of his body. Carson was admitted to Durham Regional Hospital and then moved to the rehabilitation unit.

Carson and his rehabilitation team were not sure he would ever walk again, but he says the wonderful treatment he received changed his life.

For Al’s full story and to learn more about stroke, visit durhamregional.org. Then check this blog each week in May for a new story from a stroke patient or caregiver as part of National Stroke Awareness Month.

Stroke is the number four cause of death and the leading cause of disability in American adults. During National Stroke Awareness Month in May, learn the symptoms of stroke, and make healthy lifestyle choices to lower your risk. If you or someone you know has sudden confusion, numbness of the face or arm or trouble speaking, call 911 right away.

Caregivers affected by stroke, too

In July 2012, Marie’s husband Keith suffered a massive stroke.

Keith was treated at Duke University Hospital for about two weeks, then transferred to Durham Regional Hospital’s Durham Rehabilitation Institute where he stayed for nearly four months. Since then, Keith has received treatment at the Brian Center of Durham. “All the nurses, doctors and CNAs at Duke and Durham Regional were wonderful,” said Marie.

Keith’s recovery has been difficult—not only for him but also for Marie. The support Marie has received from Keith’s care team and the stroke support group at Durham Regional has been important.

For Marie’s full story and to learn more about stroke, visit durhamregional.org. Then check this blog each week in May for a new story from a stroke patient or caregiver as part of National Stroke Awareness Month.

Stroke is the number four cause of death and the leading cause of disability in American adults. During National Stroke Awareness Month in May, learn the symptoms of stroke, and make healthy lifestyle choices to lower your risk. If you or someone you know has sudden confusion, numbness of the face or arm or trouble speaking, call 911 right away.

May is Stroke Awareness Month

Last year, Robert Baynard laid down for an afternoon nap. When he awoke to take his dog out for his usual evening walk, Robert started staggering and had trouble getting up and down. He went to sleep that night feeling strange, but thinking it wasn’t anything serious.

The next morning, Robert was still feeling strange and by the time he and his wife decided it was time to seek medical attention, he had trouble even getting in the car. They went to the Emergency Department at Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Durham, where they learned Robert had suffered a stroke.

ClockToday, Robert is steadily getting back to himself.

Stroke is the number four cause of death and the leading cause of disability in American adults. During National Stroke Awareness Month in May, learn the symptoms of stroke, and make healthy lifestyle choices to lower your risk. If you or someone you know has sudden confusion, numbness of the face or arm or trouble speaking, call 911 right away.

For Robert’s full story and to learn more about stroke, visit durhamregional.org. Then check out our blog each week in May for a new story from a stroke patient or caregiver as part of National Stroke Awareness Month.