Sumter Nurse Practitioner Presents Success of Local Stroke Program at International Stroke Conference


Prisma Health

Prisma Health Tuomey Hospital Nurse Practitioner, Shanika Shephard, FNP, recently presented at the American Heart Association’s International Stroke Conference on the use of tele-neurology services to augment stroke care in the Sumter community.

In an effort to address the increased risk of stroke in rural communities, Prisma Health began offering in-person stroke care services at Prisma Health Tuomey Hospital in April 2021. Neurologists from other sites in Prisma Health were able to perform exams with acute non-emergency stroke patients in Sumter with providers using the Zeriscope device, which consists of a camera attached to a helmet and provides two-way communication between the nurse practitioner and a board-certified neurologist. After live-streaming “virtual rounds” with doctors, Shephard and colleague Megan Lybrand, GNP, partner with the doctor to determine a plan of care for each patient. This allows patients to receive all care at Tuomey Hospital, eliminating the need for extra travel and, ideally, helping to prevent further strokes.

Shephard had the opportunity to present his positive results to the ISC earlier this year. The team evaluated 52 stroke patients over a four-month period and, thanks to the consistent care provided in a convenient manner, none of the patients experienced further complications.

“We were excited to bring these services to Sumter,” Shephard said. “In a rural community where many people are at high risk for stroke, we were able to show significant impact in a short time. It was an honor to share our results with the medical community, and I am grateful to continue our important work in this area.

Prior to this program, Tuomey Hospital did not have acute neurology services. Shephard and Lybrand, who also live in the Sumter area, continue to provide aftercare services to stroke patients. Patients are assessed at the hospital by one of the nurse practitioners and then receive a post-stroke assessment at an office next to Tuomey Hospital. They assess the impact of continuing care through therapy and follow-up on their lives. The team also provides ongoing training for the prevention of future strokes, minimizing any further disability.

The project also received funding from South Carolina SmartState and the iCARE program with the South Carolina Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare.

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