MONDAY, May 20, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Improvements in systems of care are necessary to implement advances in treatment and care of stroke patients, according to a policy statement issued by the American Stroke Association and published online May 20 in Stroke.

Opeolu Adeoye, M.D., from the University of Cincinnati, and colleagues provide an update to prior publications to help guide policymakers and public health agencies in revising their stroke systems of care.

The authors recommend that stroke systems support educational initiatives to increase stroke awareness and that they target populations at increased risk for stroke and poor outcomes after stroke. Innovative behavioral interventions are recommended to address barriers to healthy behaviors, prevention adherence, and warning sign action. Public health education programs should be designed and implemented to focus on stroke systems and the need to seek emergency care. Triage paradigms and protocols should be developed to ensure that patients with known or suspected stroke are rapidly identified and assessed. Stroke centers should adopt approaches to secondary prevention that address all major modifiable risk factors; the focus of postacute care should be on reducing mortality, maximizing recovery, and preventing recurrent stroke and cardiovascular events. Stroke centers should screen for postacute complications and provide individualized care plans. A stroke system should ensure survivors receive screening during hospitalization to determine rehabilitation needs.

“These recommendations reflect how far we have progressed and what still needs to be accomplished to maximize patient outcomes in acute stroke care,” Adeoye said in a statement.

One of the reviewers disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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