Helen Stewart's daughter says her mother is independent and sassy. "She doesn't allow us to do anything for her. She cooks for her and her husband, she does everything." But all that could have changed when Helen suffered a stroke back in December. "I was in the grocery store and just fell." Employees at the store didn't hesitate to get Helen to the closest emergency room, the number one priority for a stroke victim.
Dr. Frank Lafranchise, a Savannah neurologist is part of St. Joseph/Candler's Rapid Response Team that recently received certification as a primary stoke center, recognition based on compliance with national standards for stroke care. "Right now in Chatham County, any of the three hospitals will be able to care for an acute stroke patient, but as time evolves we think that this type of certification will make it clear to care givers, patients and the general community, as well as the medical community that there is a difference when talking about acute stroke management and rehab," says Dr. Lafranchise. Treatment and rehab that made Helen a stroke survivor and well on her way to recovery.
Certification of St. Joseph/Candler's stroke program is through the Joint Commission on Accreditation for Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). JCAHO is an independent nonprofit organization that evaluates and accredits more than 16,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States.