Idaho Falls Community Hospital Launches Stroke Support Group
Recovery from a stroke can be a long and ongoing process. The journey doesn’t end when patients are discharged from the hospital. In fact, many patients undergo months or years of therapy to regain their speech, mobility and cognitive abilities. To support patients, their families and caregivers throughout the recovery process Idaho Falls Community Hospital is launching a monthly support group for stroke survivors. The first meeting will take place at the hospital at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, November 14.
“Having a stroke is a lifechanging event,” said Anna Ruiz Shackelford, stroke coordinator for Idaho Falls Community Hospital. “We want patients and families in our community to know they do not have to navigate these new challenges on their own. We saw a clear need to launch a support group for stroke survivors in Eastern Idaho and we are excited to help build a network people can lean on and turn to for advice and encouragement.”
The Stroke Survivor Support Group meets the second Tuesday of every month from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Idaho Falls Community Hospital. Anyone who has had a stroke or is caring for a loved one is welcome to attend.
Every month, the Stroke Survivor Support Group will bring in an expert to talk about a specific area of stroke recovery and provide individuals with strategies they can try at home. In addition to stroke education, the group provides time for individuals to share what they are going through and receive encouragement and advice from their peers who have faced similar experiences.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, someone in America has a stroke every 40 seconds. A stroke occurs when something blocks blood supply to a part of the brain or a blood vessel in the brain bursts. Timely treatment is key for patients to make a full recovery.
“At the very first signs of a stroke, patients should call 9-1-1, so lifesaving treatment can begin on the way to the hospital,” said Dr. Warren Albrecht, a board-certified vascular surgeon who practices at Idaho Falls Community Hospital. “Sudden numbness, confusion, dizziness, loss of balance, trouble seeing or speaking, lack of coordination, vomiting, severe headaches, weakness on one side of the body or facial droop can all be early symptoms. Seeking treatment right away saves lives.”
Stoke patients will likely not have all these symptoms. If a stroke is impacting the back of the brain, an individual will experience dizziness, loss of balance, vision changes and vomiting. The number of symptoms does not matter. If a community member is showing even one of the signs of a stroke, they should go to the hospital right away.
Idaho Falls Community Hospital’s emergency department is open 24 hours a day 365 days a year, so patients can receive care whenever they need it.