Caregiver Training Saves a Life

May 10, 2019 Lisa Vance

Story by Lisa Vance, CEO of Providence Health & Services in Oregon


Doug Ferguson is a patient escort at Providence Portland Medical Center. He’s worked for Providence transportation services for 17 years.

Recently, during a routine patient transport, he was talking with a patient about her problems and pain. As he helped her into bed, he noticed some confusion. He also went down the hall to ask a nurse for pain medication. When he returned, he noticed the patient’s words were jumbled.
From his BE FAST training, Doug knew the patient needed help and quickly sought support from the rapid response team. Immediately, Rachel Ryerson, RN, assessed the patient and determined she was having a stroke; Rachel and Doug took the patient to the ED to get a cat scan. There, the stroke protocols were implemented successfully.
BE FAST is an organization-wide training for all Providence caregivers who have direct patient contact. This education helped Doug recognize the symptoms, which led to him getting help immediately from Rachel.
Here’s what Dr. Lisa Yanase, medical director at Providence Brain and Spine Institute and medical director for Providence Portland Stroke Center, had to say about Doug:
“Doug’s recognizing that a patient in his care was having stroke symptoms and ensuring that her needs were addressed quickly is a great example of the patient-centered care that Providence strives for. Acute stroke care is a team game – it’s very interdisciplinary – which is why our dedicated stroke coordinators work tirelessly to make sure that everyone who interacts with our patients knows how to recognize stroke symptoms (remember...BE FAST!) and ACT! The stroke team commends Doug on his quick actions that made a big difference in this patient’s care, and changed her life!”
Thank you, Doug, for using your training and experience and for your care and quick actions. Thank you, Rachel, for listening and assessing this patient and immediately seeking treatment. Thank you to our stroke team at PPMC for your fast response. Thank you to all of our colleagues at Providence Brain and Spine Institute for your training, protocols, and expertise.
Dr. Yanase says it best: It takes a team.
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