It’s an unfortunate truth: stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the United States—and the No. 4 cause of death. So when it comes to identifying and treating a stroke, every single second counts.
“It takes only a few minutes for damage to begin occurring to brain cells,” explains David Likosky, MD, medical director of the stroke program at EvergreenHealth. “That’s why it’s so important to act quickly and treat stroke patients. And, in the case of the hospital providing care to that patient, it’s essential that every department come together.”
Indeed, a successful stroke program requires a high level of care and teamwork across many departments. That’s something EvergreenHealth knows well, and is why all its emergency and hospitalist physicians undergo specialized training from the National Institute of Health Stroke Scale Certification Program.
And, to ensure key members of the EvergreenHealth team are at their best in such a high-stakes situation, emergency department and stroke unit nurses also receive annual stroke education so that they are kept up-to-date on the latest guidelines for the highest quality stroke care.
“Our stroke program’s integrated approach is exemplary of the collaborative work that takes place across EvergreenHealth every day,” said EvergreenHealth CEO Bob Malte. “Our teams of doctors, nurses, staff and volunteers are dedicated to excellence in providing the highest level of patient-centered care and service, and today I’m honored to recognize the commitment of the individuals in stroke care.”
This commitment is one reason why the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines®–Stroke program recently recognized EvergreenHealth with its Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award.
To earn a Get With The Guidelines®–Stroke achievement award, hospitals must adhere to specific treatment measures. Under these guidelines, patients are started on aggressive emergency treatment followed by risk-reduction therapies including the use of medications such as tPA, antithrombotics and anticoagulation therapy, along with cholesterol reducing drugs and smoking cessation counseling.
“Recent studies show that patients treated in hospitals participating in the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines®–Stroke program receive a higher quality of care and may experience better outcomes,” says Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., chair of the Get With The Guidelines National Steering Committee and director of the TeleStroke and Acute Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Mass. “The EvergreenHealth team is to be commended for their commitment to improving the care of their patients.”
The award from the American Heart Association comes on the heels of Healthgrades’ 2014 rankings, which named EvergreenHealth the recipient of its Stroke Care Excellence Award for the fifth year in a row. Healthgrades also ranked EvergreenHealth in the top 10 percent in the nation for the treatment of stroke and renewed its 5-star rating in the specialty.
“It’s quite an honor to be recognized by top organizations like the American Heart Association and Healthgrades,” says Dr. Likosky. “These distinctions reflect EvergreenHealth’s hospital-wide dedication to achieving the best possible outcomes for stroke patients, and our commitment to delivering nationally recognized quality care to our patients.”
EvergreenHealth is also certified as a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission, which means it meets the highest national standards for stroke care.
To learn more about EvergreenHealth stroke services, visit www.evergreenhealth.com/stroke.