May is National Stroke Awareness Month

Get a jump on National Stroke Awareness month. Make sure your referral network has plenty of resource material on hand for their patients and caregivers.

Spread the word …. Strokes are the fifth leading cause of death and the number one cause of adult disability in the United States. A stroke occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is interrupted. Blood clots are the most common cause, but strokes can also be the result of a leaking blood vessel or a rupture within the brain. During a stroke the lack of oxygenated blood causes cells to weaken and die. The possibility of long-term paralysis depends on the location of the brain affected and the amount of cell damage that has occurred.  

Some people experience a transient ischemic attack, (TIA) or mini-stroke which is often a warning sign of a more serious event. TIA symptoms are the same as a stroke but last minutes or hours and then disappear. A TIA episode should be taken very seriously as 40% of people who experience them will have a stroke within a few days.

There are several risk factors that can lead to a stroke, but hypertension is the leading culprit. Over time, elevated blood pressure damages artery walls causing them to burst or become easily clogged, which can lead to a stroke. Other factors that increase the risk of a stroke are: high cholesterol, sleep apnea, cardiovascular disease, or a family history of stokes.  If you suffer from any of these conditions or if you routinely have blood pressure readings with the systolic above 140 and/or the diastolic above 90 you need to talk to your medical provider about stroke prevention.  

You may be having a stroke or TIA if you experience any of these symptoms suddenly:

  • Difficulty speaking
  • Vision Problems
  • Unsteadiness on your feet or trouble walking
  • Weakness on one side of your body
  • Severe Headache

If you are having a stroke, time is critical. Call 9-1-1 Immediately - There is a brain-saving medication available which, if administered within 3 -4 hours of having a stroke, can minimize brain damage and disability. Receiving prompt treatment gives you the best chance for a full recovery.

Visit our Web Store for Home Health & Hospice informational materials on the dangers of stroke and other health conditions.



Build community relationships this World Stroke Day

October 29 is World Stroke Day. Strokes are one of the leading causes of disability and occur among all age groups, including infants, children, young adults and older adults.

According to the World Health Organization, one in six people worldwide will have a stroke sometime in their lives. Additionally, a person dies from a stroke every six seconds. Get the word out about the risk factors for stroke and encourage your community to learn how to reduce those risks.

  • Organize an educational event focusing on stroke at a local place of worship. Provide blood pressure log books for attendees and invite stroke survivors to share their experiences.
  • Use your Facebook and Twitter feeds to spread awareness about stroke. Here are some prepared posts and tweets from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association that can be modified for the occasion.
  • Stock the offices of referral sources with informational stroke flyers personalized with your agency’s name and logo. Available for home health, private duty and hospice.
  • Down the Act FAST Wallet Card from the National Stroke Association and distribute it with brochures for your agency. The card details the warning signs of a stroke.
  • Contact a church in your community that serves a primarily African American or Latino population — both groups with a higher risk for stroke. Offer to have a discussion group about stroke facts and risks. Learn more about strokes and minorities here. Lots of free stroke-related materials in both English and Spanish are available here and here.
  • Make stroke the focus of your agency newsletter this month. Check out issue #06: Brain Attack: Are you at risk for a stroke? This professionally designed newsletter educates on stroke and provides an area for you to list your services.

September Digest: Simple tips to get more referrals

Strokes kill more than 800,000 Americans every year, making this condition the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. A staggering 7 million people over age 20 in this country have had a stroke at some point in their lives. The seriousness of this condition underscores how important it is to get involved in raising awareness about strokes and how to prevent them. A perfect time to do that is Oct. 29, World Stroke Day. You not only may save lives through your outreach efforts, but you’ll be raising awareness of your stroke-specific medical services.

  • Call on clinical referral sources in your community and sell them on your agency’s outcomes when it comes to providing care for stroke patients. Find great Patient Outcomes Brochures for the Physician at You can easily show off how you compare to your competitors when it comes to a variety of outcomes measures.
  • The Patient Outcomes Senior Brochures are a natural companion to the physician brochures. They educate about stroke in easy-to-understand language. Find them at
  • While touting your outcomes to physicians, show them that patient education is a strong component of your home health program. Comprehensive Patient Education Guides for Stroke not only are an eye-catching example of your work, but they help patients get more involved in their own care, which improves outcomes. Find them at
  • Distribute personalized stroke care flyers at community health fairs, libraries, senior centers and anywhere that seniors gather. Find them at

October is National Physical Therapy Month. It’s a great time to not only highlight the important work of your staff physical therapists, but to convey to referral sources how physical therapy and home care can improve the lives of their patients.

  • Schedule meetings with the orthopedic surgeons in your area to show them how well your home health or private duty company can help improve the outcomes for their hip, knee and shoulder replacement patients. Leave them with a unique orthopedic rehabilitation brochure that outlines your company’s services for this as well as how your outcomes scores stack up against state and national averages. Find them at Companion brochures for patients are available at
  • You can’t say “thank you” enough to employees who are doing a great job and helping you have a successful business. Gove your physical therapy staff a little extra thanks with a mention in your company newsletter and a fun thank-you card with a little treat. Find the cards at
  • Visit an assisted living facility and host a discussion on the benefits of physical therapy for a variety of common health concerns among seniors. Distribute informative flyers about physical therapy to the attendees. Find them at
  • Promote your company’s hip and knee replacement recovery services at local health fairs. Distribute informative brochures about the procedure and how home care can help. Find them at

October is all about lung awareness – not only is October Healthy Lung Month, but Lung Health Day is Oct. 28 and National Respiratory Care Week Is Oct. 25-30. The number of Americans affected by lung disease is staggering. With about 158,000 deaths every year (more than prostate, pancreas, breast and colon cancer combined), lung cancer is the nation’s deadliest cancer. About 206,000 people are diagnosed with the condition each year. Additionally, about 10 million adults are diagnosed with chronic bronchitis each year, and about 4.7 million others have ever been diagnosed with emphysema – the diseases that make up Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). About 25 million people live with asthma. Take a stand for lung health and encourage your community to spread the word about lung disease.

  • Use your agency’s COPD outcome scores to demonstrate to physicians your success at providing quality outcomes for certain conditions. Outcomes brochures for the physician detail the specific services you offer and display your outcome scores as compared to state or national averages. Find them at Companion brochures for patients are available at
  • Hospice agencies can visit with physicians and discharge planners to discuss when referral is appropriate for patients with lung disease/COPD. The hospice specialty care flyer, which includes easy-to-follow end-stage indicators, is a wonderful tool to clearly convey this message. Find it at
  • Partner with physicians to improve hospice care for patients with COPD. The COPD hospice disease case study provides a specific patient scenario in which hospice referral would be recommended. Find it at
  • Empower your COPD patients and improve your positive outcomes by providing them with COPD zone flyers that tell them when their symptoms indicate a call to their home health nurse is needed, and when it’s time to call 911. Find them at Reminder stickers and magnets also are available at
  • Show physicians you’re serious about giving patients an active role in managing their condition by using patient education guides, which are packed with guidance, tips, goals and logs. Be sure to take the guides along when you call on physicians to discuss potential referrals and the care you provide. Find guides for asthma and COPD at