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10 Vital Things to Look for in a Stroke Center

By , Caring.com senior editor
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If your parent is at risk for a stroke, perhaps because he's had one before or there's a strong family history, it's important to be prepared for a stroke emergency. One essential element of preparation is determining in advance where your parent should be taken if he's having a stroke.

The best treatment for stroke can be found at a primary stroke center, a hospital that's been certified by the Joint Commission as meeting the recommendations for primary stroke centers published by the Brain Attack Coalition (BAC) and the American Stroke Association.

To find a primary stroke center near your parent's home, visit the Joint Commission's certified organization finder, select the state in which your parent lives, then select "Primary Stroke Center" under Certified Program.

You may find that the closest primary stroke center is simply too far away. Because it's so important that treatment be started as soon as possible, it's better for your parent to go to a competent facility nearby than to a primary stroke center that's hours away.

Use this list of questions -- modified from the BAC's checklist for communities -- to determine whether your local hospital meets the most important criteria.