St. Rita’s Medical Center Receives Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification

May 19 2023

Since 1918, Mercy Health — St. Rita’s Medical Center has been providing quality, compassionate health care to the people of Lima and west central Ohio including cardiology, orthopedics, oncology, emergency care services and much more.

This year, St. Rita’s Medical Center received certification from DNV as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, recognizing that this facility performs the highest level of competence for treatment of serious stroke events.

This special designation makes St. Rita’s Medical Center the only hospital within a 60- to 90-mile radius with this certification.

“When it comes to stroke care, time is brain,” Ronda Lehman, our Lima market president, shares. “Having the best clinicians and resources is critical, but more important is having the infrastructure in place to be able to provide this time-sensitive, life-saving care with extreme efficiency because of the critical nature of these events. Our Comprehensive Stroke Certification from DNV validates the hard work and dedication that our team at St. Rita’s has put into this program to ensure the health and safety of our patients when it comes to stroke care.”

Our neuroscience program at St. Rita’s Medical Center has seen massive change in recent months, with more on the horizon. Historically operating separately from rehabilitation, hospital leadership has focused on aligning neurosciences with our rehabilitation programs to improve the continuum of care for our patients – from acute care to rehab to home health to outpatient care.

“The first step in gaining better alignment internally was partnering with the Arubah Neuroscience Institute, a group of three neuro endovascular and neuro critical care physicians, which helped to build the hospital’s stroke care coordination to a more comprehensive program,” said Lisa Rampe, director of neurosciences and rehabilitation at Mercy Health – St. Rita’s. “Our goal was to gain total alignment and we are thrilled to receive this designation as a comprehensive stroke center.”

What is a Comprehensive Stroke Center?

As designated by DNV, a Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification is based on standards set forth by the Brain Attack Coalition and the American Stroke Association. This certification affirms that St. Rita’s Medical Center addresses the full spectrum of stroke care: diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and education. Our facility also establishes clear metrics to evaluate outcomes.

Comprehensive Stroke Centers are typically the largest and best-equipped hospitals in a given geographical area that can treat any kind of stroke or stroke complication. And in a growing number of states, Stroke Center certifications determine to which facility a patient should be taken by EMS for the most appropriate, reimbursable care. This mindset has been reinforced through passage of Senate Bill 21 in Ohio, which is stroke-specific legislation relating to EMS treatment and transport of the stroke patient.

“At St. Rita’s, we recognize that fire and EMS responders are, many times, the first link in the chain of stroke care and survival,” Brian Anderson, an EMS coordinator at Mercy Health – St. Rita’s Medical Center, shares. “With St. Rita’s increased capabilities as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, and through partnering with area pre-hospital providers for education, training and our Stroke Alert process, we can reduce the time to care and treatment for patients experiencing stroke throughout Allen County and surrounding communities, all the while keeping patients closer to home for the definitive care that they need.”  

Darrell’s Story: A Six-Time Stroke Survivor

Darrell Craft (pictured above), one of our former patients, experienced a total of six strokes between December of 2018 and March of 2020. He has written a book about his journey titled “Journal of a Six-Time Stroke Survivor.”

“I knew something was wrong on Dec. 20, 2018, when I could not find the location of a family Christmas party,” Darrell recalls. “I had to return home while I still could remember how to get there.”

Over the course of the next two years, Darrell would experience seemingly random symptoms that turned out to be symptoms of his six strokes. Those symptoms ranged from confusion, not being able to complete tasks at work, vivid dreams, hallucinations, headaches and double vision. After his first and second stroke, Darrell and his family members were more aware of the symptoms and were able to ensure he received timely care.

During his various strokes and recoveries, Darrell spent time in the hospital, a nursing home and in both the inpatient and outpatient rehab programs at St. Rita’s Medical Center. He notes that he had an especially good stay on 7E during his first time through inpatient treatment and wanted to give back with his skills and training in social work. Darrell has since become a devoted volunteer to our rehab program.

What led Darrell to share his story with others was part wanting to spread awareness and part wanting to ensure that he could support his wife for the rest of his life regardless of his disability status. After experiencing some financial hardships, he says, “I prayed for a way to develop another source of income for her, and God led me to write this book to accomplish this.”

And as for what he wants others to know, Darrell adds, “You should never give up! You are in the fight of your life, and you should give no quarter or ask for no quarter from this illness regardless of how much it may hurt.”

When you need swift, specialized stroke care, our expert team of health care professionals are prepared with the most advanced life-saving procedures available. We’re committed to providing you with the personalized care you need so you can be there for what matters most.

Learn more about all the stroke care services we provide at Mercy Health.

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