TeleNeurology Coverage can Help Hospitals Meet the Need for Emergent Treatment

May is stroke awareness month, a timely reminder for hospitals to assess their preparedness to care for stroke cases during the summer months, which are expected to bring above average temperatures for much of the U.S and the potential for increased incidence of strokes. It is also a great opportunity for hospitals and health care leaders to engage with their communities on ways to reduce the risk of stroke and avoid hospitalization.

A recent study published in the journal Neurology documents the correlation between “nonoptimal temperatures” and increased deaths from strokes. Though this study’s results were most relevant outside of the U.S., its reminder of the temperature-related contributions to strokes is impactful everywhere.

How Access TeleCare’s TeleStroke and TeleNeurology Services Address Stroke Risks in Extreme Weather

“Any potential for increased risk of stroke presents an added challenge for hospitals, especially those caring for older patients,” said Dr. Annie Tsui, chief of neurology at Access TeleCare. “As extremely hot days become more common and we consider how that may lead to more cases of stroke, it’s imperative that hospitals maintain consistent neurology coverage and educate their communities on reducing the risk of strokes in extreme weather.” By leveraging Access TeleCare’s TeleStroke and TeleNeurology services, hospitals can ensure they are equipped to manage these challenges effectively.

The peer-reviewed study noted a continuous increase in stroke deaths related to nonoptimal (very high or very low) temperatures between 1990 and 2019. In hot weather, heat stress and dehydration increase the risk of stroke by thickening the blood and elevating the risk of blood clots. Many existing conditions, such as  high blood pressure, can be made worse during exposure to high temperatures as well.

4 Ways to Reduce Stroke Risk in Hot Weather

  • Stay hydrated: Dehydration thickens the blood and can lead to blood clots, increasing the risk for stroke. Staying hydrated helps maintain normal blood viscosity and can reduce stress on the cardiovascular system.
  • Avoid peak heat: Avoiding exposure to extreme heat during the hottest parts of the day helps reduce the strain on the heart and blood vessels caused by high temperatures. If possible, limit outdoor or physically strenuous activities to the morning or late evening.
  • Manage existing conditions: Conditions like hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol increase the risk of stroke and can be exacerbated by high temperatures. Ensure these and other conditions are managed with the proper medications, and monitor their associated health metrics, especially when exposed to high temperatures.
  • Wear proper clothing: Light, loose-fitting clothing helps the body stay cool during extreme heat. Breathable fabrics allow the body to cool itself faster, and proper headgear that protects the face and eyes from direct sunlight can reduce the risk of overheating.

Contact us to learn more about our teleStroke programs and ensure your hospital is equipped to manage an increased stroke burden.

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