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  1. Drollinger, Lindy
  2. Prasun, Marilyn A.


ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Early recognition of inpatient stroke is critical in reducing poor outcomes. A gap in knowledge and recognition of stroke by nursing staff was observed; protocols did not incorporate the Balance, Eyes, Face, Arms, Speech, and Time (BE-FAST) symptom mnemonic, and code stroke documentation was frequently incomplete. PURPOSE: This initiative aimed to improve timely recognition, evidence-based treatment, and nursing documentation of stroke-related symptoms. METHODS: This quality improvement initiative implemented an inpatient nurse-driven code stroke bundle. A pre-post prospective intervention design was implemented over 3 months. Code stroke bundle components included an evidence-based protocol, algorithm, visual aids, and education. Nursing communication and documentation used the BE-FAST mnemonic in a Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation format. RESULTS: Nursing stroke knowledge improved 8% (88% vs 96%, P < .001); stroke response times improved 15 minutes (25.9 vs 11 minutes, P = .383), although not significant; the code stroke documentation completion rate was increased 48.1% (0 [0%] vs 13 [48.1%], P < .001); and improved utilization of the BE-FAST tool with Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation communication (0 [0%] vs 20 [47.6%], P = < .001) was observed. The code stroke cancelation rate slightly worsened (10 [26.3%] vs 14 [26.9%], P = .949), code stroke notifications for altered mental status improved (15 [39.5%] vs 8 [15.7%], P = .015), and the stroke mimic rate improved (27 [71.1%] vs 35 [67.3%], P = .708). CONCLUSION: Nurses provide hospital patient care continuously and are in a key position to intervene when patients present changes in symptoms. Through education and creating an evidence-based protocol, nurses can impact patient outcomes in early recognition and activation of the code stroke system. Further studies are warranted to refine strategies leading to continued improvement in early stroke identification.