By Jessica Reynolds Staff writer
The Daily Star
---- — Bassett Medical Center has earned “gold” for its performance in the treatment of strokes, officials said Wednesday.
The facility was recently awarded the American Stroke Association’s “Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award,” according to a Bassett media release.
To earn the gold, Bassett has consistently met specific quality requirements by rapidly diagnosing and treating stroke patients, the release said.
Dr. Paul Deringer, Bassett’s Chief of Neurology, said this isn’t the first time Bassett has received the award.
“I think we’ve received it every year since its inception,” Deringer said. But that doesn’t lessen the honor, he added.
Bassett’s stroke team, made up of four neurologists, nurses and emergency room personnel, consistently works hard to quickly and efficiently evaluate and treat stroke patients as soon as they are admitted, Deringer said. Systematic and timely evaluation and treatment of stroke patients is vital, he stressed.
Deringer said health care officials have agreed on the certain guidelines, or top-notch performance indicators, that set the standard for designated Stroke Centers everywhere.
Bassett’s stroke center has a multidisciplinary committee that regularly meets to review these indicators and evaluate whether the facility is meeting them, Deringer said. This has helped with the success of the facility.
In addition, Bassett regularly submits specific data to the American Stroke Association to track the center’s performance, he said.
As the region’s designated Stroke Center, Bassett is equipped 24/7 to provide brain imaging scans and use clot-busting drugs whenever appropriate, Deringer said. One indicator of excellence requires that suspected stroke victims are given a CAT scan within 25 minutes of their arrival.
“Many people don’t realize they may not be candidates for specific stroke treatment if they arrive at the hospital after a three-hour window,” Deringer said. “Every minute counts. That’s why it is very important to call 9-1-1 immediately.”
Bassett’s other important performance indicators include aggressive use of medications and risk-reduction therapies to reduce death and disability and improve the lives of stroke patients, the release said.
The use of clot-busting drugs, antithrombotic and anticoagulant drugs that prevent clots from forming, and cholesterol-lowering medications have all allowed Bassett to reduce risk and provide the best care, Deringer said.
Secondary prevention of stroke is important, Deringer said, as patients who have had a stroke or “mini-stroke” are at a higher risk of having another stroke.
Deringer said patients can help medical professionals to further increase efficiency of stroke treatment by seeking medical attention as quickly as possible.
“If you thinking you’re having a stroke, get to the hospital,” Deringer said.
Symptoms to watch out for include loss of speech, change in vision, sudden dizziness, weakness on one side or irregular heartbeat, Deringer said.
Studies have shown that hospitals that consistently follow the Get With The Guidelines quality improvement measures can reduce patients’ length of stays and readmission rates, Bassett’s release said.
The Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award reinforces that individuals in this region are getting the best care possible, Deringer said. They are in good hands.
“This award is welcome recognition,” he said, “of our consistent performance of top-notch treatment for stroke victims.”