EMS Alert: Stroke Patient Family Contacts

EMS Alert

As healthcare professionals we understand the importance of obtaining reliable histories for our patients. This includes determining an accurate time of sign and symptom onset. The American Heart Association’s 2010 ECC guidelines recommend that patients receive rTPA therapy within 3 hours of the onset of stroke signs and symptoms when possible. The onset time and a detailed history is especially important in these patients.

A problem we have experienced at Grant and other OhioHealth hospitals is getting an accurate time of onset, additional detailed patient information and consent to treat. Periodically, the patient is transported to the Emergency Department without a family member accompanying them and the patient cannot provide reliable information his/herself. Whenever possible, we suggest that EMS obtain the name and cell phone number of a family member that was present at onset or on-scene, or that knows the patient’s history well. If the patient was transferred from a long term care facility, physician’s office, etc. obtaining the facility’s phone number could also be helpful.

For more information about the American Heart Association’s ECC guidelines, visit: