McLeod Receives Get With The Guidelines Bronze Performance Achievement Award

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(9/08/10) - The American Stroke Association is pleased to announce that McLeod Regional Medical Center has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get With The Guidelines®–Stroke Bronze Performance Achievement Award. The award recognizes McLeod's commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of stroke care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations.
"With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and the Get With The Guidelines–Stroke Bronze Performance Achievement Award addresses the important element of time," said Dr. William Boulware, Chairman of the McLeod CE Stroke Committee. "McLeod has developed a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to the emergency department. This includes always being equipped to provide brain imaging scans, having neurologists available to conduct patient evaluations and using clot-busting medications when appropriate."

Part of McLeod's rapid diagnostic system includes their partnership in the REACH Stroke Network. REACH (Remote Evaluation of Acute Ischemic Stroke), is a web-based, tele-medicine system. Through this system, urgent, specialized stroke consultations by the specialists at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) are delivered to the physicians and nurses caring for acute stroke patients in emergency departments such as at McLeod.

To receive the Get With The Guidelines–Stroke Bronze Performance Achievement Award, McLeod consistently followed the treatment guidelines in the Get With The Guidelines–Stroke program for 90 days. These include aggressive use of medications like tPA, antithrombotic, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol reducing drugs, and smoking cessation. The 90-day evaluation period is the first in an ongoing self-evaluation by the hospital to continually reach the 85 percent compliance level needed to sustain this award. "Earlier this year McLeod Regional Medical Center received recognition from the American Stroke Association for being a pioneer of the REACH program," said Cherry Drulis, McLeod Director, Neuroscience /Stroke Unit. "Now they have further recognized our commitment to the care of stroke patients with the Bronze Performance Achievement award."

"We commend McLeod Regional Medical Center for its success in implementing standards of care and protocols," said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., chair of the national Get With The Guidelines Steering Committee and director of the TeleStroke and 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."

Get With The Guidelines–Stroke uses the "teachable moment," the time soon after a patient has had a stroke, when they are 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 Get With The Guidelines–Stroke, customized patient education materials are made available at the point of discharge, based on patients' individual risk profiles. The take-away materials are written in an easy-to-understand format and are available in English and Spanish. In addition, the Get With The Guidelines Patient Management Tool* provides access to up-to-date cardiovascular and stroke science at the point of care.

"The time is right for McLeod to be focused on improving the quality of stroke care by implementing Get With The Guidelines–Stroke," said Dr. Boulware. "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."

In 2000, McLeod opened the first Stroke Unit in the region dedicated exclusively to the treatment and care of patients who have suffered a stroke. The 14-bed Stroke Unit is staffed by nurses who have been specially trained to recognize even subtle changes in their patients. Stroke patients treated in the unit benefit from the lower nurse to patient ratio and aggressive rehabilitation.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability. Stroke is a significant problem in South Carolina, with stroke rates among the highest in the nation. Strokes also occur more frequently in younger persons in South Carolina than in other parts of the United States. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 45 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every three minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

When it comes to stroke, know the warning signs! • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arms, or legs, especially on one side of the body • Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech • Sudden trouble seeing out of one or both eyes • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination • Severe headaches with no known cause