HCN News & Notes

Blood-pressure Screenings Offered Every Morning by ER Staff

PALMER/WARE — Did you know that close to 60 million Americans have high blood pressure, but only about half of them know it?

The community is invited to come to the Emergency Department at Baystate Mary Lane or Baystate Wing Hospital between the hours of 7 and 8 a.m., seven days a week, to have their blood pressure checked at no cost. No appointment is necessary.

“Our staff providing emergency care are committed to encouraging our community members to take steps to better health, beginning with knowing what their blood pressure is,” said Kimberly Davis, nurse manager of Emergency Services. “Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, oftentimes has no symptoms at all, and it is a common misconception that high blood pressure is something that affects only those who are older or obese. The reality is that while our blood pressure does increase a little with age, high blood pressure can happen to anyone regardless of their age, gender, or weight, and high blood pressure can lead to heart attacks, stroke, or kidney failure. Checking blood pressures is our way of letting the community know that we care about them every day and not just when they have a health emergency.”

Although ED staffers focus their efforts on emergency stroke treatments, this screening effort will help improve stroke prevention in the community, said Dr. Robert Spence, chair of Emergency Medicine for Baystate Health’s Eastern Region, which includes Baystate Mary Lane and Baystate Wing Hospital.

“Over 40{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of strokes could be prevented if high blood pressure was controlled,” he said. “Unfortunately, when left untreated, high blood pressure and related health problems bring patients to our Emergency Department with serious medical concerns. We hope to identify those in our community who are at risk and help them to make lifestyle changes that will promote a long and healthy life.”

In addition to conducting blood-pressure checks, the team is prepared to share education on screening follow-up, free blood-pressure monitoring cards, and information about access to primary-care providers and other relevant healthcare services upon request.