Morning Blood-pressure Screenings Offered by Emergency Department

WARE — The community is invited to come to the Emergency Department at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital daily between 6 and 9 a.m., seven days a week, to have their blood pressure checked at no cost. No appointment is necessary.

“The staff in our emergency room is committed to encouraging our community members to take steps to better health, beginning with knowing what their blood pressure is,” said Lynn Garreffi, nurse manager of Emergency Services at the hospital. “We are encouraging our community members to have this simple but important health screening.

“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,” Garreffi continued. “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 pressure 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 the Emergency Department staff focuses their efforts on emergency stroke treatments, this effort will help improve stroke prevention, said Garreffi. “While Baystate Mary Lane Hospital received the American Heart Assoc./American Stroke Assoc. Get With The Guidelines – Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award, which recognized the hospital’s commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of stroke care, we are committed to also focus on stroke prevention.”

More than 40{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of strokes could be prevented if high blood pressure was controlled,” she added. “By helping our community members to know their blood pressure, we aim to tackle this statistic. Stroke is devastating; that’s why we’ll do all we can to prevent you and your family from having one, beginning with checking your blood pressure for free.”

The nurse manager emphasizes the importance of screening to detect potential problems before they become a chronic health issue. “Unfortunately, when left untreated, high blood pressure and related problems bring patients to our Emergency Department with serious medical concerns,” said Garreffi. “We want 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 assessments, the Emergency Department team is prepared to offer education on blood-pressure screening, followup, free BP-monitoring cards, and information for patients about the hospital’s primary-care practices and other relevant services upon request.

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