More than 700,000 people have a stroke each year in the United States. A diagnosis of stroke formerly elicited a nihilistic approach, but this has substantially changed in the last decade. Currently, time is brain, and it is important for all disciplines to work together to initiate acute stroke protocols in the emergency department and identify patients within the therapeutic time window for thrombolytic and neuroprotective therapies. Evolving protocols, management, and nursing care all have important implications during the acute phase of ischemic stroke. Patient and family education on risk reduction must also be addressed by the entire healthcare team.
Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Janice L. Hinkle, PhD RN CNRN, at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is a senior research fellow funded by the Medical Research Council at the University of Oxford Acute Stroke Programme in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital, Headington, Oxford, England.
Mary McKenna Guanci, MS RN CNRN, is a clinical nurse specialist in the Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA.