"With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and the Get With The Guidelines–Stroke Silver Quality Achievement Award addresses the important element of time," said LaRoy Penix, MD, a neurologist with Northeast Georgia Physicians Group and NGMC’s stroke medical director. "Northeast Georgia 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 Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Silver Quality Achievement Award, NGMC 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 12-month evaluation period is the second in an ongoing self-evaluation by the hospital to continually reach an 85 percent compliance level.
"The American Stroke Association commends Northeast Georgia Medical Center for its success in implementing standards of care and protocols," said Lee H. Schwamm, MD, 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 Guidelines–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 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.
"Northeast Georgia Medical Center has a continual focus on improving the quality of care for stroke patients," says Dr. Penix. "Because 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, our focus is more important than ever."
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.
For more information about NGMC’s stroke program, visit www.nghs.com/stroke or call 770-219-3840.
Photo Cutline: Kim Nickels from the American Heart Association (front center), presents the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®–Stroke Silver Quality Achievement Award to LaRoy Penix, MD, (front left), a neurologist with Northeast Georgia Physicians Group and Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s (NGMC) stroke medical director; Trish Westbrook, RN, NP-C, (front right), NGMC’s Clinical Stroke Director; and the members of NGMC’s Clinical Stroke Team.
About Get With The Guidelines
Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that empowers healthcare teams to save lives and reduce healthcare costs by helping hospitals follow evidence-based guidelines and recommendations. For more information, visit heart.org/quality.