Upstate News

October 6, 2008
Doretta Royer 315 464-4833

University Hospital lands American Stroke Association’s excellent stroke care award

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — University Hospital has received the American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines—Stroke Bronze Performance Achievement Award. The award recognizes University Hospital for its 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 this achievement award addresses the important element of time,” said Tarakad S. Ramachandran, M.D., professor of neurology and stroke director at University Hospital.

In 2006 University Hospital became central New York’s first hospital to receive Stroke Center designation from the New York state Department of Health. The centerpiece of University Hospital’s stroke center designation is its stroke team of physicians, pharmacists, technicians, nurses and administrators who mobilize quickly to provide rapid medical diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients.

“University Hospital has a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to the emergency department,” Ramachandran said. “This includes always being equipped to provide brain imaging scans, having neurologists available around the clock to conduct patient evaluations, using clot-busting medications intravenously, and also intrarterially at the site of the clot when appropriate. In addition, we are capable of retrieving and removing the clot(s) when indicated.”

To receive the GWTG-Stroke Bronze Performance Achievement Award, University Hospital consistently followed the treatment guidelines in the GWTG-Stroke program for 90 days. These include aggressive use of medications like tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol reducing drugs, and smoking cessation. The 90-day evaluation period is the first 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 University Hospital 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 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.

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