AdventHealth Zephyrhills is Your Primary Stroke Center

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AdventHealth Zephyrhills is Awarded Advanced Certification as a

Primary Stroke Center

Zephyrhills, Florida…June 6, 2019… AdventHealth Zephyrhills has again earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Heart-Check mark for Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers. The Gold Seal of Approval® and the Heart-Check mark represent symbols of quality from their respective organizations.

“AdventHealth Zephyrhills has thoroughly demonstrated the greatest level of commitment to the care of stroke patients through its Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers,” said Patrick Phelan, Executive Director, Hospital Business Development, The Joint Commission. “We commend them for continuing to become a leader in stroke care, potentially providing a higher standard of service for stroke patients in its community.”

A rigorous onsite review with experts from The Joint Commission took place at the hospital earlier this spring, according to Gwen Alonso, RN, AdventHealth Zephyrhills Chief Nursing Officer. Joint Commission representatives evaluated the hospital’s compliance with stroke-related standards and requirements, including program management and the delivery of clinical care and performance improvement.

“Although AdventHealth Zephyrhills has been certified as a Primary Stroke Center since 2012, as a Joint Commission-accredited acute care hospital, the stroke certification is awarded every other year based on merit,” Alonso said. “We work very hard to retain this certification and to continually improve. Stroke is a major health concern that we take extremely seriously. We have the clinical expertise and have invested in state-of-the-art technology. Our Stroke Advisory Committee, comprised of physicians and clinical team members from departments that include the ER, radiology, observation, and intensive care, measure response times and provide feedback and input on our clinical approaches to stroke patients,” she added.

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association have identified stroke as the fourth cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States, with someone experiencing a stroke every 40 seconds. In 2018, AdventHealth Zephyrhills treated 210 patients for cerebrovascular accidents (CVA), which is the medical term for a stroke, and 125 patients for Transient Ischemic Attacks, referred to as TIAs, according to Alonso.

A CVA, or stroke, happens when blood flow to a part of your brain is stopped either by a blockage or the rupture of a blood vessel, explained Deb Dungan, RN, AdventHealth Zephyrhills Stroke Educator. When blood flow to the brain stops for a short period of time, this is called a TIA, and it can mimic stroke-like symptoms. These symptoms last less than 24 hours before disappearing, and are a serious warning sign that a stroke may happen in the future. You should seek immediate medical attention,” Dungan said.

“AdventHealth Zephyrhills provides many free community presentations to educate individuals about stroke symptoms so they are prepared,” Dungan added. “We use the acronym FAST because it’s easy to remember and helps people determine quickly if there are stroke signs present.”

The “F” in FAST stands for a one-sided facial droop, and the “A” is for arms. If someone tries to lift both of their arms and one drifts downwards, that’s an indication that there’s a problem, Dungan said. “With the “S,” you want to listen for word slurring or see if the person can repeat a short phrase correctly. And “T” means time, which is critical.

“If any of the F, A or S signs are present, you should call 911 immediately,” Dungan said. “And if you think you may be having a stroke or you’re with someone who is experiencing stroke symptoms, don’t hesitate to go to the closest hospital and don’t drive. Call 911. Paramedics are trained to provide lifesaving support while you’re on the way to the closest ER.”

Dungan recently started a stroke lifestyle group at AdventHealth Zephyrhills for those who are living with the effects of a stroke or a TIA. “The purpose of the group is to discuss daily challenges that participants may be experiencing, and our hope is that these individuals will find emotional and moral support through one another and learn coping skills that empower them,” she said.

The stroke lifestyle group meets from 11 am to noon the first Monday of every month at the AdventHealth Zephyrhills Wellness Center, 38233 Daughtery Road, Zephyrhills. If you’re interested in attending a stroke support group, call Dungan at Call813-779-6476 as reservations are required.

About AdventHealth Zephyrhills

AdventHealth Zephyrhills is a member of the faith-based AdventHealth System, providing a connected system of care in nearly a dozen states with close to 50 hospitals and hundreds of care sites. Since 1985, the hospital has provided award-winning care with a mission to extend the healing ministry of Christ. The hospital offers a wide variety of services to include heart care, orthopedics, women’s care, surgical care, a 24/7 emergency room and more. With a focus on whole-person care, skilled and compassionate caregivers provide individualized care for body, mind and spirit. To learn more about the hospital’s services, visit

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