Posted: Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Stroke Program Receives Two Awards From the American Heart Association

Blount Memorial Hospital has earned a pair of awards from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association for its continuing commitment to providing quality stroke care.

The hospital received both the Get With The Guidelines® Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award and the Get With The Guidelines® Target: Stroke Honor Roll Bronze Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

“We are incredibly proud of these recognitions,” said Blount Memorial Hospital stroke medical director and hospitalist Dr. Deaver Shattuck. “It was a true team effort. These awards validate the state-of-the-art, evidence-based, world-class stroke care that we’ve strived to deliver since we initiated our stroke program,” Shattuck added.

Blount Memorial earned both awards by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period, which include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery; reducing death and disability for stroke patients; and ensuring that patients receive education on managing their health and schedule a follow-up before they are discharged.

To achieve the Bronze level award, hospitals must meet these requirements at a level of 85 percent compliance or higher for one calendar quarter. The Elite Silver Plus level distinction is attained by meeting the same 85 percent compliance level for a full calendar year. Elite Silver Plus level recipients also have to demonstrate at least a 75 percent compliance level with seven of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s 10 quality stroke measures in the same 12-month period.

“Blount Memorial Hospital is committed to providing top-notch stroke care to the people in this community,” said Blount Memorial chief medical officer Dr. Harold Naramore. “These recognitions acknowledge that commitment, but they are not the goal. The goal, as always, is to get our patients the best-possible stroke treatments as quickly as we can in order to help them not only survive, but recover with little or no deficits,” he said.

“We are pleased to recognize Blount Memorial Hospital for their commitment to stroke care,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., national chairperson of the Quality Oversight Committee and Executive Vice Chair of Neurology, Director of Acute Stroke Services, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. “Research has shown that hospitals adhering to clinical measures through the Get With The Guidelines quality improvement initiative can often see fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates.”

When you or someone you love is having a stroke or experiencing stroke symptoms, every moment counts because time is brain. Strokes occur either when a blood clot blocks an artery or when a blood vessel breaks, which interrupts blood flow. This means that the brain is no longer getting blood and oxygen. The longer it takes to get treatment, the greater the risk for long-term damage.

Stroke symptoms can include:

  • sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, particularly on one side of the body
  • sudden confusion, or trouble speaking or understanding, as well as sudden vision problems in one or both eyes
  • sudden trouble walking, with dizziness or loss of coordination or balance
  • a sudden severe headache with no known cause

“Because time is such a factor in stroke care, it’s important to be able to spot stroke symptoms when they occur,” Shattuck said. “One quick, easy way to remember them is with the ‘F.A.S.T’ test. Ask the person to smile to see if one side of his or her face droops. Next, ask the person to raise both arms to see if one arm drifts downward. Third, ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, looking for signs of slurred speech or issues remembering the words. Finally, since time is critical, if the person is exhibiting any of these symptoms, get him or her to the hospital immediately. Face, arms, speech and time – F.A.S.T.,” he explained. “Remember, with stroke it’s crucial to call 911 or get to the Blount Memorial emergency department as quickly as possible,” he added.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. 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.

About Get With The Guidelines®
Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that provides hospitals with tools and resources to increase adherence to the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal of saving lives and hastening recovery, Get With The Guidelines has touched the lives of more than 6 million patients since 2001. For more information, visit heart.org.

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907 East Lamar Alexander Parkway  |  Maryville, TN 37804
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