Annie Sanford, RN, BSN

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Stroke Clinical Effectiveness Coordinator

Annie is a Stroke Clinical Effectiveness Coordinator for the Stroke Program at Swedish. Annie and her team are responsible for maintaining excellent stroke patient care and providing education and outreach programs. Her goal is to help raise awareness of stroke prevention and treatment throughout the community to reduce the impact of stroke on disability and death.

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Therapy and rehab for stroke survivors

October 26, 2013

Stroke survivors often encounter physical, cognitive or emotional challenges after their stroke. Rehab helps stroke survivors relearn skills that are lost when part of the brain is damaged.  Participating in physical or occupational therapy can be extremely beneficial in assisting patients and their families in the recovery process.

Physical therapists commonly examine, evaluate, and treat stroke patients, facilitating progress towards restoring function, reducing pain, and preventing further injuries or complications.  This therapy is a form of exercise treatment to help with mobility, strength and general function based upon the individual’s needs.

Occupational therapists focus on occupations or activities are meaningful to the individual. They develop individualized care plans that may include adaptations for how to perform tasks, changes to the survivor’s surroundings, or helping individuals to alter their own behaviors.  These plans are designed to ...<...

2013 Heart & Stroke Walk

October 19, 2013

On October 26th the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association will be hosting the 2013 Puget Sound Heart & Stroke Walk in Seattle.

On average, someone in the U.S. experiences a stroke every 40 seconds. Stroke can be a devastating disease, leaving many survivors with significant disabilities and leaving a permanent footprint on the lives of loved ones.

The Puget Sound Heart & Stroke Walk gives us the opportunity to honor the survivors in our lives or the loved ones we have lost as we continue the fight to prevent stroke and improve stroke treatments.

I will be walking in honor of …

Summer Activities for Stroke Survivors

July 25, 2013

Stroke is often a significant disruption to the life of the survivor and their care partners both physically and emotionally.  While recovering from stroke is a challenging journey, it doesn’t mean you cannot do what you love.

Summer is a great time to establish or update your recovery goals with an emphasis on fun and enjoyment.  Ask yourself:

  • What hobbies or interests did you participate in prior to your stroke?
  • What hobbies or interests were you curious to try prior to your stroke?

And then ask yourself, your doctors and your therapists how old favorites and new activities can be modified to fit your changed abilities. You may be surprised at the number of options available!

There are several ideas and suggestions provided by the AHA/ASA regarding way...

Dysphagia and Stroke

July 02, 2013

Gulp! 

Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) is a common challenge for stroke survivors.  Up to 78% of stroke patients will experience some degree of dysphagia with those patients being 7 times more likely to develop aspiration pneumonia.  Aspiration occurs when, instead of being swallowed, food or beverages are inhaled into the lungs.  This can lead to pneumonia and possibly death. 

It is vital to follow....

Manage diabetes to help prevent stroke

June 02, 2013

Did you know that 6.2 million people in the U.S. are unaware that they have diabetes?

Stroke risk is two-and-a-half times higher in people with diabetes compared to those without diabetes and, in combination with heart disease, is the #1 cause of death and disability.

Here are some tips to help optimize your health:

  • Does anyone in your family have diabetes?  Talk to your healthcare provider, it may be necessary for you to be tested regularly. They will also have information about lifestyle changes that may help you stay healthy.
  • Do you have diabetes yourself?  Work with your healthcare provider to ....

Living with stroke - resources and support

May 24, 2013

If your life has been touched by stroke, one of the greatest resources you can connect with is your local stroke support group. 

There are many benefits of joining a stroke support group, including the opportunity to:

  • Socialize in a relaxed environment – feeling connected to a community is incredibly important after a stroke.  Isolation can be a significant contributor to depression and deteriorating condition.
  • Share your stories, setbacks, and achievements – the connections you establish within a stroke support group are great resources for encouragement and advice.  These relationships are also important in challenging you to push forward, continuing to work towards complete recovery.
  • Learn something new – education provided at stroke support group events can be priceless!  There is an incredible amount of information regarding navigating life after stroke and this...

Manage Cholesterol to Prevent Stroke

May 15, 2013

Next time you think about burgers and fries, think about this: these and some other foods are high in saturated fat and can cause arteries to become blocked through the gradual build-up of cholesterol, also known as plaque.

Cholesterol is a soft, waxy fat (lipid) that is required for the body to form cell membranes, some hormones and vitamin D. However, excess cholesterol or frequent consumption of saturated and trans fats can cause trouble. Cholesterol is made within the body and can also be ingested in some foods, such as eggs, meats and dairy products.

Cholesterol or plaque build-up in the arteries can block normal blood flow to the brain and cause a stroke. Approximately 1 in 4 Americans have elevated cholesterol levels, with 63% of those individuals unaware of their status. 

Here are some facts you should remember to help prevent stroke:

Control your blood pressure to prevent stroke

May 09, 2013
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a leading risk factor for stroke. Yet, more than 1 in every 3 adults in the Northwest has been diagnosed with high blood pressure.

Here are some things you can do:
  • Visit your healthcare provider:  Have your blood pressure checked at least once a year – more often if you have a history of high blood pressure, have heart disease, have diabetes, or are overweight. 
  • Get involved:  If you have high blood pressure it's important to work with your provider to improve your health.  This may include changes in diet, exercise, and medications.  Implement changes incrementally for success!
  • Know your family medical history:  If high blood pressure runs in your family, it’s important to ...