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Upstate earns top award for stroke care


SYRACUSE, N.Y. Upstate University Hospital has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get With The Guidelines - Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital's commitment and success in implementing excellent care for stroke patients, according to evidence-based guidelines.

This is the second significant honor for Upstate's stroke care in the last two months. In March, Upstate University Hospital became the first hospital in the state to achieve certification as a DNV Primary Stroke Center Hospital. DNV is the newest hospital accrediting agency in the national.

To receive the American Heart Association award, Upstate University Hospital achieved an 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month intervals and achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with six of 10 Get With The Guidelines - Stroke Quality Measures that measure quality of care. These measures include aggressive use of medications, such as tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol reducing drugs, stroke education, and smoking cessation, all aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.

"With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and the Get With The Guidelines - Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award demonstrates Upstate University Hospital's commitment to being one of the top hospitals in the country for providing aggressive, proven stroke care," said Paul Seale, chief operating officer for the hospital. "As the most comprehensive stroke center in Central New York, we will continue with our focus on providing care that has been shown in the scientific literature to quickly and efficiently treat stroke patients with evidence-based protocols."

Upstate University Hospital is the only hospital in the 17-county region that has a dedicated neuroscience intensive care unit, the capability to treat stroke patients beyond the three-hour window with clot retrieval, and the ability to give concentrated clot buster medication directly to the area of the brain that is affected. It is also the region's only telestroke center, treating and serving as a resource for the care of stroke patients in outlying hospitals through telemedicine.

"This level of care requires an amazing collaboration between physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dietitians, radiology staff, and therapists," said Seale. "We have a great team dedicated to providing the best stroke care possible."

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 gives healthcare providers access to up-to-date cardiovascular and stroke science at the point of care.

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.