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Your Healthy Family: Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit National study

UCHealth is 1 of just 4 health systems in the country currently taking part in a national study to prove the benefits of a Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit. UCHealth is 1 of just 4 health systems in the country currently taking part in a national study to prove the benefits of a Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit.
COLORADO SPRINGS -

The UCHealth Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit has been in operation in Colorado Springs for about 9 months.  Dr. William Jones is the unit's medical director, and tells me these specialized units are unique and the stroke care they deliver is groundbreaking.

“They're actually pretty rare across the world right now,” said Dr. Jones.  “I know of about 20 that are in some stage of operation or development in the entire world right now.”

When UCHealth's Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit came on-line in Denver in January of 2016 it was only the 3rd in the United States, and just the 5th in the world.  Dr. Jones says there are reasons why they are not more common.  “Units like this are both expensive to build and to operate and so it's very important that we show that this actually brings a benefit to patients.”

To that end UCHealth is 1 of just 4 health systems in the country currently taking part in a national study to prove the benefits of a Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit.  Brandi Schemph is the Mobile Stroke program Nurse Manager for UCHealth.  Schemph say's the study is one of the reasons why the Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit rotates weeks, between Denver and the Springs.

“Having that week off we're able to show a comparison week of standard (stroke) management the typical way traditional ambulance (stroke) care to hospital occurs,” said Schemph.  “Then we can compare that (data) to the way that we (treat stroke) the days we have the Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit.”

While the results of the study won't be in a for a while, Schemph says the benefits of the Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit seem obvious.  “I feel that we've seen a significant change in patients outcomes in the sense that the earlier we're able to deliver the clot busting medication (TPA) the better.  It means effects of a stroke can be less significant to the disability of the patient, and that's really what our research is all about.”

Dr Jones adds, “If we can prove that this is effective and cost effective then I think that a lot of other cities EMS agencies will be looking at how they could put these (Mobile Stroke Treatment Units)  into operation to improve care for patients with a stroke.”

Dr Jones also points out that as effective as a Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit can be in bringing stroke treatment to where a person is, the Unit’s effectiveness still relies on people knowing the warning signs of a stroke -- BE FAST -- and acting on them by calling 911.

B - Balance

E - Eyesight

F - Facial Drooping

A - Arm Weakness

S - Slurred Speech / No Speech

T - Time to Call 911

“Calling 911 is your best chance to get the treatment that you need and to either eliminate or at least significantly reduce the disability you're going to have from that stroke,” said Jones who hopes that the results of the study will result in 3 or 4 Mobile Stroke Treatment Units operating across Colorado in the UCHealth system.  

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