Holyoke Medical Center Recognized by Stroke Assoc. for ‘Guidelines’ Work

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Medical Center has received the American Stroke Assoc. (ASA) ‘Get With The Guidelines-Stroke’ (GWTG-Stroke) Silver Performance Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital’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 Silver Perfor-mance Achievement Award addresses the important element of time,” said Angela Smith, RN. Holyoke Medical Center 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 award, Holyoke Medical Center consistently complied for at least one year with the requirements in the GWTG-Stroke program. These include aggressive use of medications like tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol-reducing drugs, and smoking cessation. This 12-month evaluation period is the second in an ongoing self-evaluation by the hospital to continually reach the 85{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} compliance level needed to sustain the award.

“The American Stroke Assoc. commends Holyoke Medical Center for its success in implementing standards of care and protocols,” said Dr. Lee H. Schwamm, national Get With the Guidelines Steering Committee Member and director of 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.”

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 health care 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 GWTG-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 GWTG Patient Management Tool provides access to up-to-date cardiovascular and stroke science at the point of care.

According to the ASA, each year approximately 700,000 people suffer a stroke; 500,000 are first attacks, and 200,000 are recurrent. Of stroke survivors, 21{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of men and 24{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of women die within a year, and for those age 65 and older, the percentage is even higher.

“The time is right for Holyoke Medical Center to be focused on improving the quality of stroke care by implementing GWTG-Stroke,” Smith 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.”