ATLANTIC GENERAL HOSPITAL RECEIVES HIGHEST RECOGNITION FROM AMERICAN STROKE ASSOCIATION
Berlin, Md. – Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United
States – it takes credit for one of every 18 lives lost. In most
cases, just a tiny blood clot blocks the flow of blood to the brain, robbing
it of the oxygen supply it must receive continuously to function. Just
one minute without this crucial blood flow can kill 2 million nerve cells
and 14 billion synapses.
If proper treatment is begun immediately, however, the devastating effects
of stroke can be halted, even reversed, for many patients. That is why
Atlantic General Hospital has focused so intensely on the treatment of
this common killer that also blinds, paralyzes, robs the memory and slurs
the speech of millions of Americans.
In 2007, Atlantic General became a primary stroke center for Worcester
County and neighboring areas, designated for its ability to provide optimal
care for patients who have suffered a stroke. The center has a designated
staff and features a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment
of stroke patients admitted to the emergency department. The staff is
always prepared to provide brain imaging scans, and neurologists are on
hand to conduct patient evaluations and using clot-busting medications
As a result of its efforts to provide the best possible care to the rural
area it serves, Atlantic General’s stroke center was recently awarded
the American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®–Gold
Plus Performance Achievement Award, the organization’s highest recognition
for stroke care.
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 two consecutive 12-month periods. This is the
second year that the hospital has reached these benchmarks. 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.
The Plus portion of the Gold Plus Award also represents a minimum of 75
percent compliance with other specific quality measures for at least twelve
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.
For more information on Get With The Guidelines, visit