Atlantic General Hospital Receives Recognition from American Stroke Association


Atlantic General Hospital was recently awarded the American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®–Stroke Silver Performance Achievement Award at the association’s International Stroke Conference 2010. The award recognizes Atlantic General’s commitment and success in implementing a high standard of stroke care by ensuring that stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to evidence-based guidelines.

“With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and this award demonstrates Atlantic General’s commitment to being one of the top hospitals in the country for providing aggressive, proven stroke care,” said Colleen Wareing, vice president of patient care services. “We will continue with our focus on providing care that has been shown in the scientific literature to quickly and efficiently treat stroke patients with evidence-based protocols.”

To receive the award, Atlantic General needed to achieve 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines–Stroke achievement indicators for at least 12 months consecutive months. In fact, the hospital achieved between 91 and 100 percent on all indicators. Achievement indicators are evidence-based treatments known to result in improved patient outcomes. They include appropriate use of guideline-based care for stroke patients, including clot-busting and anti-clotting medications, blood thinners and cholesterol-reducing drugs, preventive action for deep vein thrombosis and smoking cessation counseling.

Atlantic General Hospital has developed a Primary Stroke Center, featuring a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to the emergency department. As a result, the staff is always prepared to provide brain imaging scans and neurologists are on hand to conduct patient evaluations and using clot-busting medications when appropriate.

“Atlantic General Hospital’s Get With The Guidelines–Stroke recognition is a tribute to the commitment of their staff and healthcare professionals to ensuring quality patient care, using all the available evidence, guidelines and tools,” said 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. “Published scientific studies are providing us with more and more evidence that Get With The Guidelines works. Patients are getting the right care they need when they need it. That’s resulting in improved survival after a stroke diagnosis.

“We committed to providing patients the highest quality care based on the most current and robust scientific research,” said Wareing. “The Get With The Guidelines program is giving our healthcare providers the tools they need to improve the quality of care and long-term outcomes of our stroke patients.”

For providers, the Get With The Guidelines–Stroke program offers quality-improvement measures, discharge protocols, standing orders and other measurement tools. Providing hospitals with resources and information that make it easier to follow treatment guidelines has been shown to improve the quality of care provided to stroke patients. This can help save lives and ultimately reduce overall healthcare costs by lowering readmission rates for stroke patients.

For Atlantic General’s 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 heart attack or stroke.

Through the Get With The Guidelines–Stroke program, customized patient education materials are made available at the point of discharge from Atlantic General, 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 gives healthcare providers access to up-to-date cardiovascular and stroke science at the point-of-care.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for one in every 18 deaths in the United States, and is a leading cause of serious, long-term disability. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.
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