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University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center
Publish Date: 11/25/08
Media Contact: AHC Public Relations, (513) 558-4553
Patient Info: Those wanting to learn more about the Stroke Recovery Center at Drake can call (513) 418-2470.
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Groundbreaking Stroke Recovery Center Launched at Drake

CINCINNATI—University of Cincinnati (UC) clinicians today announced they have launched a groundbreaking, interdisciplinary service at Drake Center designed to help stroke survivors achieve the fullest possible recovery, regardless of whether their stroke occurred days or years in the past.

The new Stroke Recovery Center at Drake builds on Drake's long-standing strengths in the area of neurorehabilitation, combined with UC’s world-renowned leadership in stroke research and treatment through the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Stroke Team. The Stroke Recovery Center includes a full continuum of post-stroke recovery care, including inpatient and outpatient treatment, research and consultation. Patients may access one or multiple levels of service based on their medical condition.

The announcement was made by co-directors of the Stroke Recovery Center at Drake, Brett Kissela, MD, co-director of the Stroke Recovery Center at Drake and associate professor and vice chair of the neurology department at UC, and Mark Goddard, MD, Drake’s medical program director for physical medicine and rehabilitation services and chairman of UC’s physical medicine and rehabilitation department.

They were joined at a news conference by Karen Bankston, PhD, senior vice president/site executive of Drake Center, and Stephen Page, PhD, director of Drake Center’s Neuromotor Recovery and Rehabilitation Laboratory (NmRRL) and associate professor of rehabilitation sciences, physical medicine and rehabilitation, neurosciences and neurology in UC’s College of Allied Health Sciences.

A unique feature of the Center is the new Stroke Team Assessment and Recovery Treatment (START) Program for patients who are months or years post-stroke but passionate about seeking a fuller recovery. Patients begin with an initial two-hour assessment by an interdisciplinary team of medical, therapy and research specialists, each bringing their expertise in stroke recovery. The assessment includes a neurologist; physical medicine and rehabilitation physician; physical, occupational and speech therapists; neuropsychologist and stroke researchers.

Following the assessment, the team develops an individualized, evidence-based treatment plan for the patient, then continues to monitor the patient's progress, making changes to the plan based on the patient's outcomes and needs. A unique facet of the plan is the use of therapies that are supported by evidence, and the opportunity for patients to participate in free stroke recovery clinical trials.

“About 2,000 people in the Greater Cincinnati area have ischemic strokes each year,” says Kissela, a member of the Stroke Team. “While the Stroke Team responds to 22 area hospitals to provide specialized emergency and acute care treatment to stabilize stroke patients, follow-up care has varied widely. Many patients are missing opportunities to maximize their recovery.

“Too often, stroke patients are told after six months or a year that they have plateaued in their recovery, and that they need to adjust to their new limitations,” Kissela explains. “However, I've seen the dramatic improvements that many patients can have, sometimes years post stroke, given specialized therapies and new cutting-edge treatments.”

Drake clinicians say they know of only a handful of similar types of services in the country. Of those, some only focus on one condition that could result from stroke, such as aphasia or leg movement, and no other program leverages the human, clinical, and research resources of a world-renowned stroke team and university.

The Stroke Recovery Center at Drake offers specialists who can treat all of the many different conditions that can result from stroke, including walking, mobility, leg and arm function, balance, fine motor skills of the hands, thinking and understanding skills, speech, spasticity, swallowing, incontinence, coping, adjustment and more. The center can bill a patient's insurance company, Medicare or Medicaid, and accepts self-pay patients.

Many treatments in use at the Stroke Recovery Center are developed at Drake Center in the Neuromotor Recovery and Rehabilitation Lab. There, researchers from UC test new theories in neuroplasticity, the mind's ability to reprogram following neurological injury, and the latest therapeutic devices.

“With 15 current stroke studies, we have one of the most active stroke recovery research programs in the country,” says Page. “Drake Center is the only hospital of its kind in the region with an in-house clinical research laboratory funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Stroke Association. Our findings have appeared in more than 60 peer review medical journal articles and have received numerous national and international awards. We're not just providing treatments, we're often the ones developing them.”

Says Bankston, “This center is for stroke survivors who are passionate about doing all they can to reclaim their lives after a stroke. Stroke survivors have been hungry for a service like this, one that coordinates their care and looks to all different disciplines for opportunities for improvement.”

She adds, "The Stroke Recovery Center at Drake now adds an option for those just beginning their recovery from stroke or those years post stroke who are eager for another opinion. With long-term acute care, rehab and transitional skilled nursing care for inpatients, specialized outpatient therapies, the START Program, research and wellness services, this is a continuum of stroke recovery care that is not found at any other facility in the region and possibly in the country.”

Those wanting to learn more about the Stroke Recovery Center at Drake can call (513) 418-2470.

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