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Hospitals of Community Healthcare System Earn Get With the Guidelines Stroke Quality Achievement Awards


The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association has presented the hospitals of Community Healthcare System with Get With The Guidelines® - Stroke Quality Achievement Awards. St. Catherine Hospital and St. Mary Medical Center have achieved Gold Plus status and Community Hospital has earned Silver Plus.

In addition to Get With The Guidelines – Stroke achievement awards, the hospitals have each earned Target: Stroke℠ honor roll status. Target: Stroke awards recognize hospital staff for their commitment and success in treating stroke patients with the most appropriate, timely care according to national guidelines based on scientific evidence.

Over the past two years at least 50 percent of Community Hospital, St. Catherine Hospital and St. Mary Medical Center’s eligible ischemic stroke patients have received tissue plasminogen activator or 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 three hours after the start of stroke symptoms, tPA has been shown to significantly reverse the effects of stroke and reduce permanent disability.

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“Hospitals that follow AHA/ASA recommended guidelines including the hospitals of Community Healthcare System, not only understand the importance of treating quickly with tPA, but they also follow evidence-based research that helps to determine why a patient had a stroke in the first place and report these findings,” said St. Catherine Hospital CEO Leo Correa.

The Get With The Guidelines program is designed to help hospital teams provide the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. The quality measures focus on appropriate use of guideline-based care for stroke patients, including aggressive use of medications such as clot-busting and anti-clotting drugs, blood thinners and cholesterol-reducing drugs, preventive action for deep vein thrombosis and smoking cessation counseling.

“The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association recognize the hospitals of Community Healthcare System for their commitment to stroke care,” said Eric E. Smith, MD, national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines Steering Committee and an associate professor of neurology at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. “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-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.

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“Community Hospital staff understands the importance and continues to strive for excellence in the treatment and recovery of every stroke patient who comes through our doors,” CEO Lou Molina said. “This recognition from the American Heart/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke further reinforces our team’s efforts to deliver stroke treatments promptly and safely, and shows that we can make a difference with quality care.”

Improving stroke care in Northwest Indiana is a priority, as spelled out by the findings in the 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment conducted by local hospitals. Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in Lake County at 43 percent, higher than the state and national averages of 41.7 and 36.9 percent, respectively.

“Every second counts when it comes to stroke,” said Janice Ryba, CEO. “St. Mary Medical Center utilizes evidence-based research to deliver timely stroke care so that our patients receive the best treatment in the quickest, most efficient manner. This award highlights our stroke team’s dedication to excellence in health outcomes and safety in patient care.”

For more information about stroke care at the hospitals of Community Healthcare System, visit comhs.org/stroke.

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