San Joaquin Community Hospital's Stroke Center Receives American Stroke Association's Bronze Achievement Award

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San Joaquin Community Hospital received the American Stroke Association's Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Bronze Performance Achievement Award. The award recognizes SJCH's commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of stroke care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations. San Joaquin Community Hospital's Stroke Center is there to care for patients all the way from the first signs of a stroke to the recovery and rehabilitation.

San Joaquin Community Hospital (SJCH) received the American Stroke Association's Get With The Guidelines-Stroke (GWTG-Stroke) Bronze Performance Achievement Award. The award recognizes SJCH's commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of stroke care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations.

"With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and the GWTG-Stroke Bronze Performance Achievement Award addresses the important element of time," said SJCH President and CEO Robert J. Beehler.

SJCH has developed a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to the emergency department. This includes always being equipped to provide brain imaging scans, having neurologists available to conduct patient evaluations and using clot-busting medications when appropriate.

To receive the GWTG-Stroke Bronze Performance Achievement Award, SJCH consistently followed the treatment guidelines in the GWTG-Stroke program for 90 days. These include aggressive use of medications like tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol reducing drugs, and smoking cessation. The 90-day evaluation period is the first in an ongoing self-evaluation by the hospital to continually reach the 85 percent compliance level needed to sustain this award.

"The American Stroke Association commends SJCH for its success in implementing standards of care and protocols," said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., national Get With The Guidelines Steering Committee Member and director of the acute stroke services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "The full implementation of acute stroke care and secondary stroke prevention recommendations and guidelines is a critical step in saving the lives and improving outcomes of stroke patients."

GWTG-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 stroke. Through GWTG-Stroke, customized patient education materials are made available at the point of discharge, based on patients' individual risk profiles. The take-away stroke information materials are written in an easy-to-understand format and are available in English and Spanish. In addition, the GWTG Patient Management Tool provides access to up-to-date cardiovascular and stroke science at the point of care.

"The time is right for SJCH to be focused on improving the quality of stroke care by implementing GWTG-Stroke," Beehler said. "The number of acute ischemic stroke patients eligible for treatment is expected to grow over the next decade due to increasing stroke incidence and a large aging population."

According to the American Stroke Association, each year approximately 700,000 people suffer a stroke--500,000 are first attacks and 200,000 are recurrent attacks. Of stroke survivors, 21 percent of men and 24 percent of women die within a year, and for those aged 65 and older, the percentage is even higher.

For more information about San Joaquin Community Hospital's Nationally Certified Stroke Center, visit our website at http://www.sjch.us or call 661-869-6501. Our team of highly trained professionals is ready to analyze and treat stroke symptoms within 60 minutes of a patient's arrival at the hospital. We have enhanced the quality of stroke treatment and stroke recovery available in our region of California.

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Suzanne Satterfield
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