Our Nurses of the Week are Kaile Neuschatz and Kelsey Halbert, both registered nurses and Stroke Nurse Navigators at Yale New Haven Hospital. As stroke nurse navigators, it is their job to provide continuity of care for stroke patients from the acute care phase to the recovery care phase to optimize outcomes for the patient.

Suffering a stroke sends a patient on a path to medical treatment, rehabilitation, and home care which can be a confusing process. This is where stroke nurse navigators come in, helping guide those who have suffered a stroke attack through their entire treatment and recovery process. Stroke patients are seen by countless providers so a stroke nurse navigator is there to provide a familiar face throughout the entire care process.

Halbert tells the New Haven Register, “Although we’re not active members of the treatment team…our relationship with those patients begins when they roll through the door [of the emergency department].” Quality of life outcomes for stroke patients are greatly improved the more quickly they are treated, which is why the stroke nurse navigator begins their work even before a stroke is definitively diagnosed.

Navigators have been part of the health care team in pediatrics and oncology for some time at Yale New Haven Hospital, but became part of the stroke care team in May 2016. The hospital serves a low-income urban population that is more susceptible to illnesses like heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes – all risk factors for stroke. Karin Nystrom, advanced practice registered nurse and manager of Yale New Haven’s Stroke Center, says:

“Because we are one of two comprehensive stroke centers in Connecticut, our patient population tends to be more complex, which necessitates the importance of the navigator role, because patients have so many complicated co-morbidities or illnesses that complicate their stroke.”

To learn more about Neuschatz and Halbert and the role of the Stroke Nurse Navigator, visit here.

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