Gold Plus stroke care at Providence Everett for over 10 years

May 22, 2023 Chnell Amos

Providence Regional Medical Center Everett is ranked as High Performing in stroke care for ten years straight. The best in stroke care is right here in Snohomish County.

EVERETT — Providence Regional Medical Center Everett neurology became synonymous with gold standard stroke care over the past decade thanks to a dedicated team of physicians and nurses who go above and beyond in their care for Snohomish County stroke patients.

The American Heart Association (AHA) again recognized the hospital nationally for the Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus award. The Joint Commission, the American Heart Association, and the American Stroke Association perform a yearly audit of the neurology department to receive such an honor. Providence Everett’s neurology team ranked high performing in its quick treatment of stroke patients because minutes can be the difference between life and death.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in Snohomish County. An August 2022 report from the CDC states every 40 seconds a person in the U.S. has a stroke, someone dies of a stroke every 3.5 minutes, and nearly 800,000 people in the U.S. suffer from a stroke every year. When a patient comes to Providence Everett under suspicion of a stroke, they are under “code stroke” care, which means immediately receiving computerized tomography (CT) scans and then lifesaving, clot-busting medication, all within less than 30 minutes.

There are two types of strokes: Ischemic strokes and hemorrhagic strokes. About 87% of strokes are ischemic, but ultimately, both types are caused by the impairment of an artery that provides blood flow and oxygen to the brain. Lisa Shumaker, a Providence Stroke Program Coordinator for the past 39 years, describes a stroke as a heart attack in the head. That is why having a great care team is imperative to great stroke care.

Dr. Tarvinder Singh, Medical Director of Neurosciences and Neurology at Providence, advises all to remember B.E.F.A.S.T. to help detect signs of a stroke.

Spot signs of stroke

Use the letters in "B.E.F.A.S.T." to spot signs of stroke and know when to call 9-1-1.

  • Balance -- a sudden loss of balance.
  • Eyes -- loss of vision in one or both eyes. 
  • Face Drooping. Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person's smile uneven or lopsided?
  • Arm Weakness. Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech. Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.
  • Time to Call 9-1-1. If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.

The signs are not always obvious, especially for patients experiencing transient ischemic attacks (TIA), a.k.a mini strokes, which are just as fatal as other strokes, but symptoms resolve within 24 hours. Sudden and severe headaches along with B.E.F.A.S.T. symptoms could be a sign of TIAs.

Once a person has a stroke, they are predisposed to blockages of the arteries, and if a person has a traveling blockage, that blockage can travel to the heart causing a heart attack. Stroke is more common for people over the age of 60, but there is an increasing number of young adults suffering strokes due to risk factors like high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, and diabetes.

To combat this growing issue, Providence’s Neurosciences Institute opened a 24/7 endovascular thrombectomy program for acute stroke patients. The impact of the program became evident in patients like Patt Bass, who suffered a massive stroke but won a golf tournament 6 days after undergoing a thrombectomy at Providence Everett.

Patients experience integrated, connected stroke care beginning with first responders and more than a dozen rural hospitals connected via telestroke to Providence Health Care. In-house neurohospitalists provide 24/7 coverage in the emergency department. Board-certified neurologists, neurosurgeons, vascular surgeons, neuro-interventionalists, neuroradiologists, specially trained nurses and therapists provide specialty, expert care. This concentration of resources and expertise illustrates why Sacred Heart is the region’s leader in stroke intervention and care.

Some stroke survivors will need long-term home care, therapies, transportation to appointments, and lifestyle changes to prevent future strokes. Providence Everett hosts a monthly support group for stroke survivors to help make these important lifestyles changes. Shumaker says the support group offers guidance, resources, and even cooking instructions for healthier eating.

Current attendees report the ability to walk and eat on their own, development of equal strength in their hands, smoking cessation, increased activity, and healthier diets. Shumaker believes this type of community support makes all the difference in the aftercare of a stroke patient because stoke affects both the patient and their families.

To learn more about neurology and stroke care at Providence Everett, visit

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