When someone is experiencing a stroke, every second matters. Fast, effective treatment can prevent serious disability or save someone’s life. That’s why Iredell Memorial Hospital’s primary stroke care is proud to receive the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get with the Guidelines Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award.
The Heart Association recognizes the hospital’s stroke care for its commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.
Through a focus on education, prevention, and treatment, Iredell Memorial Hospital is making a significant impact on stroke deaths in local communities.
“North Carolina is in the stroke belt of the country, and Iredell County is actually in what is called the ‘stroke belt buckle,’” said Celeste Stevens, a cardiovascular clinician with Iredell Health System and the certification coordinator for the hospital’s stroke care.
Stroke deaths have decreased by more than seven percent since Iredell Memorial Hospital became a certified stroke center in 2008. It is the only hospital in Iredell County to consecutively earn the Gold Plus Stroke Award. The hospital has an active community outreach program, with a special focus on the African American community – a demographic with a stroke rate almost twice as high as the rate for Caucasians.
Iredell Memorial Hospital earned the Gold Plus Stroke Award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period. These measures include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date guidelines, with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability. Before discharge, patients receive education on managing their health and schedule a follow-up visit, as well as other care transition interventions.
“Iredell Memorial Hospital is dedicated to improving the quality of care for our stroke patients by implementing the American Heart Association’s Get with the Guidelines-Stroke initiative,” Stevens said. “The tools and resources provided help us track and measure our success in meeting evidence-based clinical guidelines developed to improve patient outcomes.”
“We are pleased to recognize Iredell Memorial Hospital for its commitment to stroke care,” said Lee H. Schwamm, the national chairperson of the American Heart Association Quality Oversight Committee. “Research has shown that hospitals adhering to clinical measures through the Get with the Guidelines quality improvement initiative often see fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates.”
Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the U.S. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.
However, the vast majority of stroke deaths are preventable, and a quick response can minimize damage, prevent disability and save lives. The symptoms of a stroke begin suddenly and can include facial drooping, arm weakness and slurred speech. A person suffering a stroke may feel a strong headache. If you think you or someone you know is experiencing a stroke, call 911 immediately.