When 77-year-old Cleone Peters got out of bed this past January, she immediately knew something was wrong.
"I started to get up and it was like I fell on to a bed of feathers. I just went down to the floor," she said.
Cleone was having a stroke. After spending six weeks in the hospital, she is now on her way to recovery with the help of her doctor, vascular neurologist Dr. Frank LaFranchise.
Cleone is taking medication and doing physical therapy as part of her rehabilitation three days a week. "I've been doing quite well," she said. "I'm rather proud of myself. I've improved a lot."
It's that type of care that has earned the St. Joseph's/Candler Health System the Get with the Guidelines Award. It was given to them from the American Stroke Association, which is affiliated with the American Heart Association.
"The hospital system has been working for years now on improving stroke management and care," explained Dr. LaFranchise. "And part of that is the delivery of that to the patient, which is the most important thing."
Dr. LaFranchise is the medical director for the St. Joseph's/Candler Stroke Program, and a partner at Neurology Associates of Savannah. He says stroke analysis, testing people's cholesterol levels, and thorough rehabilitation programs helps him and his office partners treat stroke patients better.
"It allows us to feel confident that what's being provided to our patients and colleagues is the right approach to stroke management," he said.
The award also means patients like Cleone get a second chance at life. "With all that I went through, I don't think I would have made it without them," she said.
St. Joseph's/Candler is already building on the award, by looking into new treatment options for artery blockages and aneurysms. These are just some of the causes of strokes.
They are also involved in stroke prevention programs and research studies for new and better medications in treating stroke patients.
Reported by: Melanie A. Ruberti, firstname.lastname@example.org