Sierra Vista Recognized for Stroke Care 
Shannon Downing 
Monday, 07 May 2012 
 
 

Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®–Stroke Silver Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes Sierra Vista’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. Last year, Sierra Vista earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for certification as a Primary Stroke Center, making it the only primary stroke center between Santa Barbara and San Jose.

“With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and these distinctions address the important element of time,” said Candace Markwith, chief executive officer of Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center. Sierra Vista 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 Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Silver Quality Achievement Award, Sierra Vista consistently complied for at least one year with the requirements in the Get With The Guidelines–Stroke program. These include aggressive use of medications like tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol reducing drugs, and smoking cessation. This twelve-month evaluation period is the second 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 Sierra Vista for its success in implementing standards of care and protocols,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., chair of the Get With The Guidelines National Steering Committee and director of the TeleStroke and Acute Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “The full implementation of acute care and secondary prevention recommendations and guidelines is a critical step in saving the lives and improving outcomes of stroke patients.”

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

“The time is right for Sierra Vista to be focused on improving the quality of stroke care by implementing Get With The Guidelines–Stroke. 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,” said Markwith.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is one of the leading causes of death and serious, long-term disability in the United States.  On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

To celebrate Sierra Vista’s achievements in stroke care, Sierra Vista will host a stroke survivor luncheon on May 23, 2012 in the hospital auditorium from 11:30am-1:00pm. Stroke survivors and their caregivers are invited to attend. For more information and to reserve your spot, call (800) 483-6387.