Tuality Healthcare’s award-winning stroke team brought home another piece of impressive hardware last week, winning the Get With The Guidelines – Stroke GoldPlus Quality Achievement Award presented by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. The award recognizes Tuality for its high standard of stroke care that reduces death and disability and improves the lives of stroke patients.
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to the American Stroke Association. It is also a leading cause of serious, long-term disability. In stroke cases, Friedman said, the faster the diagnosis and treatment, the better the chance of limiting brain damage and potential long-term disability. Neurologists use the term Stroke: Time = Brain.
The award was presented to the extended stroke team members at a ceremony at Tuality Community Hospital. The award honors the stroke team for 85 percent, or higher, adherence on 10 quality stroke achievement measures over a 24-month period.
“This award and the numbers on the 10 measures speak to the quality of care at Tuality Healthcare,” said Erin Shaw, director of quality improvement for the American Heart/Stroke Association’s Western States Division, who has on hand to present the award. “Most hospitals stick to what’s required. This hospital has never done that. Tuality is always striving to provide better care.”
Tuality’s stroke team is made up of three neurology specialists – Dr. Daniel K. Friedman, MD, Tuality Stroke Center director, Dr. Barbara J. Hills, MD, and Dr. Wan-jui Chen, MD, as well as three neurosurgeons, Dr. Fred C. Williams, MD, Dr. Keyvan Abtin, MD, and Dr. Bradley J. Bergquist, MD.
Friedman struggled to thank all those responsible for the award. “I need to thank everyone,” he said. “Who do I thank? The nurses, emergency department, the administration, the physicians, the pharmacy. There are lots of thanks to go around.”
The GoldPlus award is an extension of the stroke team’s Silver award from 2011. Also in 2011, the Joint Commission, a national organization that investigates and certifies hospitals, gave Tuality the prestigious Certification of Distinction for Advanced Primary Stroke Center award. The Joint Commission will return to Tuality in 2013 to re-certify the facility as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center.
Recognizing the signs of stroke and calling 9-1-1 for immediate transport to a hospital are crucial aspects of stroke treatment. Friedman recommends that everyone should be able to recognize the signs of a stroke by learning and using the acronym F.A.S.T. F stands for checking for facial droop or an uneven smile; A stands for checking for arm numbness or weakness; S stands for recognizing slurred speech or difficulty speaking as a stroke sign; and T stands for time to the hospital. If a citizen sees any of these signs, they should call 9-1-1 immediately.