Hospital recognized for quality stroke care

Houston Methodist St. John Hospital has been cited for its care of stroke patients — the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines ® -Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: Stroke Honor Roll SM Elite Plus. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment and success ensuring that stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, evidenced-based guidelines.

To receive the Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award, hospitals must achieve 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke achievement indicators for at least 12 consecutive months and during the same period achieve 75 percent or higher compliance with five of eight Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality measures.

To qualify for the

, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke.

If given intravenously in the first three hours after the start of stroke symptoms, tPA has been shown to significantly reduce the effects of stroke and lessen the chance of permanent disability. Houston Methodist St. John earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period.

These quality measures are designed to help hospital teams follow the most up-to- date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients.

“A stroke patient loses 1.9 million neurons each minute stroke treatment is delayed. This recognition further demonstrates our commitment to delivering advanced stroke treatments to patients quickly and safely,” said Dr. Nadim Islam, director of Emergency Medicine at St. John. “Houston Methodist St. John continues to strive for excellence in the acute treatment of stroke patients. The recognition from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke further reinforces our team’s hard work.”

“The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association recognize Houston Methodist St. Johnfor its commitment to stroke care,” said Paul Heidenreich, M.D., M.S., national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines Steering Committee and professor of medicine at Stanford University. “Research has shown there are benefits to patients who are treated at hospitals that have adopted the Get With The Guidelines program.”

Get With The Guidelines®-S puts the expertise of the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association to work for hospitals nationwide, helping hospital care teams ensure the care provided to patients is aligned with the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal to save lives and improve recovery time, Get With The Guidelines®-S has impacted more than 3 million patients since 2003.

As a nurse and former stroke coordinator, Teri Ackerson is aware that every second counts when a stroke strikes. In May 2013, the training she used to help others helped save her own life. Ackerson’s left arm suddenly went numb, she felt the left side of her face droop and she was unable to speak. Despite her symptoms, Ackerson remained calm, made note of the timing of her symptoms and, with the help of her son, proceeded to get treatment quickly.

“Hospitals that follow AHA/ASA recommended guidelines not only know the importance to treat quickly with tPA, but they also follow evidence-based research that helps to determine why you had a stroke in the first place and report these findings,” said Ackerson, 46, who completed a marathon 26 days after her stroke. “Without the treatment I received, I would not have recovered as well as I did.”

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, someone dies of a stroke every four minutes, and nearly 800,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

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