Europe Hospitals, the first hospital of brussels to be certified in providing healthcare to patients who have suffered a stroke
The stoke treatment unit of the Europe Hospitals (Uccle/Etterbeek) is now an officially-recognised “Stroke Unit”. This certification has been issued by the European Stroke Organisation (ESO). The institution is the first hospital to be recognised as such in Brussels.
THE GUARANTEE OF BEING CARED FOR IN THE BEST CONDITIONS
In a certified “Stroke Unit”, the patient who has suffered a stroke is guaranteed that every effort will be made to provide him/her with the best possible healthcare, from his/her admission in the hospital until his/her post-hospitalisation follow-up. Dr Matthieu Rutgers, a neurologist at the Europe Hospitals and the Vice-Chairman of the Belgian Stroke Council, insists that “a stroke is a serious condition that is potentially fatal. This guarantee of quality is therefore important to us as healthcare professionals, but more particularly to the patient and his/her relatives who are going through this sudden and painful experience and require reassurance”
A TEAM OF EXPERTS AT THE SIDE OF THE PATIENT
The certification imposes stringent rules, such as the guarantee that the patient is surrounded by experts from various medical fields. This expertise starts at the patient’s home, when the ambulance team (112) comes to fetch him/her and continues with his/her admission in the emergency ward. The patient is examined by an emergency doctor and by a neurologist, and a radiologist performs a brain scan. The patient is also monitored by specialised nurses and a number of paramedics, such as kinesiotherapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, dieticians, social assistants, and neuropsychologists who are specialised in the management of strokes.
“To achieve ESO certification, we first have to prepare a file listing some one hundred action points” explains Dr M. Rutgers. “This provides the opportunity of putting it all down on paper, to further specify our procedures. An important change has been the requested implementation of quality indicators. This certification imposes constant self-assessment and that we adopt a process of continuous improvement. It’s a highly rewarding process that, in some cases, has allowed us to conduct a more accurate evaluation, which would undoubtedly have taken more time without these indicators.“
A CLOSE COLLABORATION BETWEEN THE TWO SITES OF THE EUROPE HOSPITALS
The healthcare provided to a patient at the emergency ward is the same at the Ste-Elisabeth site (Uccle) as in the St-Michel site (Etterbeek). If the suspected presence of a stroke is confirmed, the patient is hospitalised at the Ste-Elisabeth site in the specialised stroke unit, and benefits from the full infrastructure to treat him or her in the best possible conditions.
A CLOSE COLLABORATION BETWEEN HOSPITALS
There are two types of certification issued by the ESO; recognition as a “Stroke Unit”, which in Belgium is also called S1 level, and as a “Stroke Centre”, or level S2, the highest certification (reflecting the presence of resources to provide endovascular treatments). The infrastructure of a Stroke Unit, such as the one we have in the Europe Hospitals, enables to relieve the workload of various Stroke Centres. The former can take in approximately 95% of cases and, as necessary, perform a thrombolysis, whereas only 5% of cases will be referred to a more specialised centre, generally in a university hospital, for specific treatments such as a thrombectomy The Europe Hospitals collaborate closely with the university hospitals in the Brussels region.
RECOGNISING THE FIRST SIGNS
In the event of a stroke, speed of the essence. Dr M. Rutgers' key phrase is: “Every minute counts. Everything has to be done fast and well, in the shortest timeframe”. It is therefore important to detect the first signs of an impending stroke: sudden paralysis of one side of the body or of one side of the face, or speech impairment. Any one of these symptoms is alarming and justifies dialling the European emergency number “112”.