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Get With The Guidelines- Stroke Gold Plus Award Presented to South Nassau

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association has awarded South Nassau Communities Hospital with a Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes South Nassau’s commitment and success in implementing excellent care for stroke patients, according to evidence-based guidelines. In 2011, South Nassau was awarded the Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award.

To earn the award, South Nassau achieved 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month intervals and achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with six of 10 Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Measures, which are reporting initiatives to measure quality of care. These measures include appropriate and timely use of medications, such as antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis, cholesterol reducing drugs and smoking cessation, all aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.

“It is imperative that South Nassau is in the forefront of performance improvement and raising standards in the delivery of healthcare services,” said Linda Efferen, M.D., chief medical officer. “So, while we appreciate this important achievement, the patients and communities we serve can be assured that we will not relent in our pursuit to lead the way in providing high-quality, standard-setting healthcare.”

In addition to the Get With The Guideline-Stroke award, South Nassau is a recipient of the association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll, for improving stroke care. To qualify for the honor roll, a minimum of 50 percent of the hospital’s eligible ischemic stroke patients have received tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) within 60 minutes of arriving at the hospital (known as ‘door-to-needle’ time).

A thrombolytic, or clot-busting agent, tPA is the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the urgent treatment of ischemic stroke. If given intravenously in the first few hours after the start of stroke symptoms, tPA has been shown to significantly reverse the effects of stroke and reduce permanent disability. Unfortunately, tPA therapy is not an option for patients who are having a hemorrhagic stroke (which is when a blood vessel in the brain leaks or bursts) or have one or more of the following conditions: bleeding ulcer, blood clotting problems, brain cancer, extremely high blood pressure, prior bleeding problems.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability. 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. Recognizable symptoms of stroke include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body; Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech;
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes;
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination;
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

    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 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 gives healthcare providers access to up-to-date cardiovascular and stroke information at the point of care.

    South Nassau’s Emergency Services Department is designated a regional Stroke Center by the New York State Department of Health. Including highly skilled, board-certified physicians with expertise in treating stroke, South Nassau provides:

    • Rapid assessment of patients with stroke symptoms
    • On-site new generation CT scanner that minimizes exposure to radiation
    • Prompt treatment using advanced therapies and procedures
    • Comprehensive neurological and neurosurgical care throughout hospitalization
    • Nurses with special training in stroke care
    • Stroke support group
    • Community education
    As Southern Nassau’s only Trauma Center, the department has over 35 large independent treatment bays and specialty areas including Pediatrics and Behavioral Health as well as its own dedicated Digital Radiology suite for rapid access for testing and results.

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