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

Posted: May. 4, 2014

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association has awarded South Nassau Communities Hospital with the Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award for a third consecutive year.

The Get With the Guidelines Stroke program helps hospitals provide the most up-to-date, research-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. South Nassau 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 measures include use of medications and risk-reduction therapies aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.

“To fulfill our mission to meet the patients’ and communities’ needs for quality, patient-centered healthcare services, South Nassau must always be focused on performance improvement and raising our standards,” said Linda Efferen, M.D., chief medical officer.

South Nassau was also named to the association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll for meeting stroke quality measures that reduce the time between hospital arrival and treatment with the clot-buster tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke. People who suffer a stroke and receive the drug within three hours of the onset of symptoms may recover more quickly and are less likely to suffer severe disability.

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. The tPA therapy is not an option for patients with hemorrhagic stroke (which is when a blood vessel in the brain leaks or bursts) or who have: bleeding ulcer, blood clotting problems, brain cancer, extremely high blood pressure or prior bleeding problems.

A study appearing in the April 23-30, 2014, issue of Journal of the American Medical Association examining the results of “Target: Stroke” found that implementation of the quality initiative was associated with improvement in the time to treatment and a lower risk of in-hospital death, intracranial hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain), and an increase in the portion of patients discharged to their home. Coordinated by Gregg C. Fonarow, M.D., of the University of California, Los Angeles, and based on the outcomes of more than 71,000 patients, the study’s findings further reinforced the importance and clinical benefits of more rapid administration of intravenous tPA.

The Get With The Guidelines Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award is one of a multitude of honors for quality and safety earned by South Nassau in the past year, including: American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Magnet® recognition; Joint Commission Top Performer on Key Quality Measures; American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer Outstanding Achievement Award; Joint Commission Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers; Joint Commission Disease-specific Certification in End-stage Renal Disease; HomeCare Elite™ listing South Nassau’s Home Care as one of the top home health care providers in the United States (for the eighth consecutive year); and Becker's Hospital Review list of "100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare" (for the third consecutive year).

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. All of the major symptoms of stroke appear suddenly and without warning and they are often not painful. The most common symptoms of stroke can be remembered by the acronym FAST:

F = Face: Is one side of the face drooping down? A = Arm: Can the person raise both arms, or is one arm weak? S = Speech: Is speech slurred or confusing? T = Time: Time is critical! Call 9-1-1 immediately!

Other less common symptoms of stroke are sudden trouble seeing, sudden dizziness, and generalized weakness. If you or someone you are with is experiencing some or any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.

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, the department provides:

  • Rapid assessment of patients with stroke symptoms
  • On-site new generation CT scanner that minimizes radiation exposure
  • 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 Level II Center, the emergency department has more than 35 large independent treatment bays and specialty areas, including Pediatrics and Behavioral Health as well as its own dedicated Computerized Radiology Suite for rapid access for testing and results.