Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Grady Health System Awarded Gold from the American Stroke Association

Grady Health System announced earlier this month that it has received the American Stroke Association’s Get With The GuidelinesSM–Stroke (GWTG¬Stroke) Gold Performance Achievement Award. The award recognizes Grady’s commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of stroke care for at least 24 months according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations. Grady is situated in the heart of the stroke belt – an area in the southeastern United States that sees more strokes and stroke-related deaths than other parts of the country.

“With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and the GWTG–Stroke Gold Performance Achievement Award addresses the important element of time,” said Dr. Michael Frankel, Grady’s Chief of Neurology and the director of the Marcus Stroke and Neuroscience Center at Grady. “Grady Health System 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 GWTG-Stroke Gold Performance Achievement Award, Grady demonstrated 85% adherence in the GWTG–Stroke key measures for 24 or more consecutive months. These include aggressive use of medications like tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol-reducing drugs, and smoking cessation.

“The American Stroke Association commends Grady Health System for its success in implementing standards of care and protocols,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., national Get With The Guidelines Steering Committee Member and director of the 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 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 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.

“The time is right for Grady to be focused on improving the quality of stroke care by implementing GWTG¬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 Frankel, also a professor of Neurology at Emory University. According to the American Stroke Association (which is a division of the American Heart Association), each year approximately 700,000 people suffer a stroke — 500,000 are first attacks and 200,000 are recurrent. Of stroke survivors, 21 percent of men and 24 percent of women die within a year, and for those aged 65 and older, the percentage is even higher.

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