Stroke Center

The Stroke Center at Saint Francis Medical Center is prepared to handle any stroke-related emergency 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our stroke team:

  • Is notified by EMS crews if a potential stroke patient is en route
  • Evaluates patients within 10 minutes of arrival
  • Performs critical imaging scans within 25 minutes of the order, with results analyzed within 20 minutes
  • Identifies treatment options and begins treatment within 1 hour of arrival

Time Lost is Brain Lost

Stroke patients who are treated within 4.5 hours of the start of stroke symptoms are at least 30 percent more likely to recover with little or no disability. The sooner the team at the Stroke Center can treat a potential stroke patient, the better the chances for recovery. That is why it is important to receive treatment from a nationally recognized stroke center.

Warning Signs of Stroke

Call 9–1–1 immediately if you experience these symptoms:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble speaking
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance/coordination
  • Sudden headache with no known cause


We use several technologies to diagnose stroke, including:

  • Ambulatory/Video Electroencephalography. Ambulatory/video electroencephalography helps in the diagnosis of a variety of neurological problems, from common headaches and dizziness to seizure disorders, strokes and degenerative brain disease.
  • Angiography. This X-ray procedure photographs the blood vessels using a catheter tube. The catheter is inserted into an artery or vein in the groin and is guided to the area under observation. Once the catheter has reached the appropriate area, X-ray dye is injected through the catheter, outlining the blood vessels. The outline makes it possible for a radiologist to see blockages or irregularities in the blood vessels.
  • Computerized Tomography (CT). Computerized tomography (CT) scans take detailed cross-sectional images of the body that are used to identify specific neurological conditions.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). During magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the body is exposed to electromagnetic radiation that can detect, process and convert images of the body’s soft tissue, such as the brain or spinal cord, into computer images.

Clinical Drug Trials

The Neurosciences Institute offers patients the opportunity to help doctors find answers to neurological illness by participating in clinical drug and surgery research trials.

Rehabilitation Services

Neuropsychology Services

As the only provider in the region with both a neuropsychologist and a behavioral psychologist on staff, Saint Francis Medical Center provides expert care for patients suffering from emotional/cognitive problems due to bodily injury. Inpatient rehabilitation staff helps patients develop coping skills, establish appropriate expectations and modify their lifestyle in accordance with any physical limitations to maintain a positive outlook on life.

Nutritional Services

After an initial assessment, patients are provided with an individualized nutrition plan to follow during their stay and are checked on a weekly basis by Saint Francis Medical Center’s dietitians and aides. At discharge, patients may receive additional feedback on future nutritional concerns.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists and assistants at Saint Francis Medical Center are focused on increasing independence and improving quality of life. This involves developing individualized treatment programs for patients to help them reach goals in regard to the social, emotional and physiological effects of illnesses and injuries, including spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and dementia. Caregivers also assist patients in restoring daily living activities, such as self-care, work and leisure.

Physical Therapy

Through the use of exercises and applications that promote and restore normal function and development, physical therapists and assistants at Saint Francis Medical Center help patients overcome injuries and other physically debilitating conditions.

Recreational Therapy

Saint Francis Medical Center’s recreational therapy caregivers work with patients to improve skills and provide information needed to ensure successful adjustment into their home or community environment.

Social Work

Social workers at Saint Francis Medical Center meet with the family members of patients to counsel them in regard to lifestyle changes and connect them to community resources to meet patients’ needs.

Speech Therapy

Saint Francis Medical Center provides speech evaluations and assessments of language and swallowing, as well as all areas of speech pathology. After an initial assessment is completed, a plan of care is established with input from the patient’s family.

Ratings and Designations

American Heart Association/American Stroke Association – 2022 Get With The Guidelines® Gold Plus Stroke Award

American Heart Association 2022 Get With The Guidelines Gold Plus Stroke Award

Saint Francis Medical Center has received the American Heart Association’s Gold Plus Award for its commitment to prioritizing quality care for stroke patients. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

Saint Francis Medical Center earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients as outlined by the American Heart Association. This is the third consecutive year Saint Francis has received this award, representing five cumulative years of exceeding the reporting metrics. These measures include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. Before discharge, patients should also receive education on managing their health and schedule a follow-up visit, as well as other care transition interventions.

The Joint Commission – Advanced Primary Stroke Center

The Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval

Saint Francis Healthcare System has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® and the American Stroke Association’s Heart-Check mark for Advanced Primary Stroke Center Certification.

As a result of continued compliance with national standards and extraordinary outcomes, The Stroke Center has received the Joint Commission’s Certificate of Distinction in Disease-Specific Care for Primary Stroke Center Certification for the eighth time. It was initially awarded in 2005.

Saint Francis Healthcare System underwent a rigorous, unannounced onsite review in November 2019. During the visit, a team of Joint Commission reviewers evaluated compliance with related certification standards including program management, supporting self-management, and delivering and facilitating clinical care. Joint Commission standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, measurement experts and patients. The reviewers also conducted onsite observations and interviews.