Rashid Hospital stroke unit in process of obtaining European accreditation

January 30, 2014 12:20 pm

DHA plans to establish completely dedicated neurospinal unit in the premises of the new Rashid Hospital complex, which is part of the DHA’s strategic plan.

The only dedicated 24/7 stroke unit in the Emirate, is in the process of obtaining a European accreditation for the establishment and functioning of a dedicated stroke unit that follows European standards.

Since its establishment in early 2012, on an overage 500 patients have been admitted with a stroke every year- of these 150 needed acute stroke management

In the UAE, every hour, one person gets a stroke, annually 7000-8000 patients suffer from a stroke.

United Arab Emirates, Dubai, January 29, 2014: The emirate’s only dedicated 24/7 stroke unit in Rashid Hospital is in the process of obtaining an international accreditation for the establishment and functioning of a stroke unit that follows European protocols and standards.

At Arab Health 2012, the DHA and the German State of Rheinland-Pfalz first announced their cooperation in the field of stroke management and qualification. One major step in the cooperation was the establishment of a certified Stroke Unit according to the European Stroke Organisation Guidelines.

Prof. Dr. Bernd Ringelstein, Board Member of the German Stroke Society, and Dr Suhail Al Rukn, neurologist and head of stroke unit at Rashid Hospital presented the concept designed by the European Stroke Organization and the level of its implementation at Rashid Hospital.

Since then, the Rashid Stroke unit was established in early 2012 and on an overage 500 patients have been admitted with a stroke per year- of these 150 needed acute stroke management

Presently, the stroke unit is in the midst of getting a European accreditation and the process will be completely by April 2014. This accreditation will establish Rashid Hospital stoke unit to the be the first unit outside the European Union to get this type of certification.

HE Eng Essa Al Maidoor, Director-General of the DHA said: ” We are very proud of Rashid Hospital for establishing a completely dedicated stroke unit that follows international protocols. It is the DHA’s aim to promote international accreditations in the medical field- both in the private and the public sector. This accreditation will help reaffirm the high standards of care that Dubai adheres to.”

He said in future the DHA plans to open a completely dedicated neuro-spinal centre in the premises of the new Rashid Hospital complex.

Al Rukn, said : “Accreditations are important to ensure we follow highest level of medical care. Establishing a stroke unit was of vital importance because from the time a person gets a stroke, the brain damage is very quick and therefore universally accepted stroke protocols and management help limit the damage that can be caused by the stroke.

“An adult brain has a total of five to six billion brain cells, when a stroke occurs, brain cells start to die. It has been estimated that 1.9 million brain cells die per minute in a stroke case. Therefore, the level of disability can be quite severe as the effects of a stroke on the body are immediate.

“In terms of stroke care, time is crucial and a dedicated stroke unit directly leads to better patient outcomes.”

He said as part of the agreement, Germany will also train nurses in the emirate to be qualified as a stroke nurse.

Dr. Joe Weingarten, Director-General of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Rheinland-Pfalz said the treatment of patients in a stroke requires a multidisciplinary team and stroke nurses have an important position within the stroke unit. Stroke nurse medical education is an important project and we are glad to extend cooperation in this field.”

Stroke is third leading cause of death in the world and the main reason for adult disability. In the UAE, after road accidents, it is the second leading cause of disability. Annually 7000-8000 patients in the UAE get a stroke, this means every hour, one person gets a stroke. Internationally the number is 100 to 120 cases per 100,000 so we are within the international range, however, unfortunately in the UAE stroke patients are much younger than those in western countries.

Al Rukn said, “Abroad the average age of a stroke is above 65 years, here it is 45 years. The reasons for people getting a stroke at such a young age in the UAE is multifactorial – a high percentage of our population suffers from diabetes and hypertension. Obesity is huge problem in our population and so is sedentary lifestyle – all these are triggers that can lead to a stroke.”

Rashid Hospital’s stroke unit is the only dedicated stroke unit in Dubai which functions round- the -clock. The other dedicated stroke unit is in Al Ain.

Al Rukn said: ” Given the prevalence of strokes we would encourage more hospitals to set up dedicated stroke units that follow essential protocols to minimize the irreparable damage caused to the brain cells during a stroke.

He added: “Every stroke is different and strokes affect all bodily factions such as speech, movement etc. A stroke on the right side of the brain generally causes problems on the left side of the body. A stroke on the left side of the brain causes problems on the right side of the body. Some strokes happen at the base of the brain and can cause problems with eating, breathing and moving. For most people, the left side of the brain controls language (talking, reading, writing, and understanding). The right side controls perceptual skills (making sense of what you see, hear and touch) and spatial skills (judging size, speed, distance and position). Despite the fact that stokes affects several functions of the body, people still do not understand the link between poor lifestyle and stroke.”

He said an important message to the community is that they should be aware of what to do in case a person is having a stroke as immediate medical intervention is important. “Unfortunately, so many people die every year and many are left to endure severe or prolonged disability because they didn’t get to a hospital quick enough after having a stroke.”

He said that a simple process can help family members identify if a person is having a stroke or not. ” It’s called the FAST test, the details are: Face: check whether the person’s face has fallen to one side and whether the person can smile or not. Arms: Can the person raise both arms or not? Speech: Can the person speak or is the speech slurred? And lastly, Time: If any of the three signs are visible, it’s important to call the ambulance right away.”

He said the first four and a half hours after the person gets a stroke are most crucial for doctors to minimize the damage to the brain and thus getting to a hospital on time is crucial.

He added that people above the age of 30 should check their blood pressure every year and that there is a strong link between hypertension and stroke. He also advocated that people should bring about meaningful lifestyle changes to minimize their risk of developing a stroke.