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Saint Clare's Health System Receives American Stroke Association's "Get With The Guidelines" Bronze Performance Achievement Award


07/16/2009

Demonstrating its commitment to comprehensive and effective stroke care, Saint Clare’s Health System has recently received the American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines (SM)–Stroke (GWTG–Stroke) Bronze Performance Achievement Award. The award recognizes Saint Clare’s commitment and success in implementing a high standard of stroke care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations.

“Our clinical teams are keenly aware of the importance of time when treating a stroke patient. The short and long-term effects of a stroke can be minimized with prompt diagnosis and treatment,” said Leslie D. Hirsch, President and Chief Executive Officer of Saint Clare’s Health System. “The GWTG–Stroke Bronze Performance Achievement Award is validation of Saint Clare’s commitment to the high quality and scientifically based care provided to our stroke patients.”

The Stroke Centers at Saint Clare’s Hospitals in Denville and Dover have implemented a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to the emergency department. This system includes being equipped to provide brain imaging scans, having neurologists available to conduct patient evaluations and using clot-busting medications when appropriate.

To receive the GWTG–Stroke Bronze Performance Achievement Award, Saint Clare’s Health System consistently followed the treatment guidelines in the GWTG–Stroke program for 90 days. These guidelines include aggressive use of medications like tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol reducing drugs, and smoking cessation.

“The American Stroke Association commends Saint Clare’s for its success in implementing standards of care and protocols,” said Lee H. Schwamm, MD, National Get With The Guidelines Steering Committee Member and director of the acute stroke services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “The full implementation of acute care and secondary prevention recommendations and guidelines is a critical step in saving the lives and improving outcomes of stroke patients.”

GWTG–Stroke uses the “teachable moment,” the time soon after a patient has had a stroke, when the patient is most likely to listen to and follow their healthcare professionals’ guidance. Studies demonstrate that patients, who are taught how to manage their risk factors while still in the hospital, reduce their risk of a second stroke. Through GWTG–Stroke, customized patient education materials are available at patient discharge, based on patient’s individual risk profile. Materials are written in an easy-to-understand format and are available in English and Spanish. In addition, the GWTG Patient Management Tool provides access to up-to-date cardiovascular and stroke science at the point of care.

“Saint Clare’s is constantly focused on improving the quality of care, including stroke care, and the American Stroke Association’s GWTG–Stroke guidelines are important to that process. The number of acute ischemic stroke patients eligible for treatment is expected to grow over the next decade due to increasing stroke incidence and a large aging population,” continued Hirsch.

According to the American Stroke Association, each year approximately 700,000 people suffer a stroke — 500,000 are first attacks and 200,000 are recurrent attacks. Of stroke survivors, 21 percent of men and 24 percent of women die within a year, and for those aged 65 and older, the percentage is even higher. 

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