Barb Jacobsmeyer is on a mission to bring awareness to heart health and stroke

Stroke Wellness

Encompass Health furthered its commitment to stroke education and awareness Jan. 1 as a three-year, national sponsor of the Togetherto End Stroke initiative. The Company’s sponsorship entails local involvement as signature sponsors at 20 Go Red for Women Luncheons across the country, as well as the development of educational resources for patients and caregivers, including the Life After Stroke guide, which can be downloaded directly from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association’s website.

As one of the country’s leading providers of stroke rehabilitation, the sponsorship allows Encompass Health to educate the public on life-changing topics including warning signs of stroke, deficits of stroke and the differences between stroke rehabilitation settings.

Through the sponsorship launch, inspiring stories of many stroke survivors treated in Encompass Health hospitals were shared including those of Brittany MicholasJean FortePaul Millerand William Weaver.

Barb Jacobsmeyer, executive vice president and president of inpatient hospitals at Encompass Health, has been leading the Company’s national sponsorship and has been supported by Encompass Health hospital leaders throughout the country to create a uniform voice for stroke awareness. Alongside Dawn Rock, chief compliance officer at Encompass Health, Barb also co-chaired the Birmingham, Alabama-based 2019 Go Red for Women campaign. 

Below, Jacobsmeyer discusses why she goes red.

What have you learned in your Go Red volunteer leadership experience?

Personally, because my mother is a heart attack survivor, and my youngest brother died at the age of 41 from a heart attack, I know I have strong hereditary factors, but there is a lot that I can do to take charge of my own health. I can also teach my family and friends to take charge of their health by eating healthy, staying physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing stress, not smoking and limiting alcohol intake.

Why do you encourage others to Go Red?  

The Go Red event is a way they can learn more about heart disease and stroke and, in turn, branch out to their family and friends, so they can do the same. We can make a difference collectively. 

How does the mission of the AHA/ASA tie into the mission of Encompass Health?

Many of our patients suffer from heart disease. Stroke is the single largest diagnosis that we treat in our rehabilitation hospitals. In January 2019, we entered into a strategic sponsorship with the AHA/ASA for its Together to End Stroke campaign, so we can work together to educate patients, caregivers and healthcare providers on the prevention of heart disease and stroke, the signs and symptoms of stroke, the importance of getting immediate medical attention and the rehabilitation options following a stroke. 

According to the 2016 adult stroke rehabilitation guidelines released by the American Heart Association, whenever possible, stroke patients should be treated at an inpatient rehabilitation facility rather than a skilled nursing facility. While at an inpatient rehabilitation facility, a patient participates in at least three hours of rehabilitation a day from physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists. Nurses are continuously available, and doctors typically visit daily. 

Learn more about Encompass Health’s involvement with the AHA/ASA’s Togetherto End Stroke at