TOPEKA – St. Francis Health Center is participating in the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®–Stroke program. The goal of the program is to improve the overall quality of care for stroke patients by improving acute stroke treatment and preventing future strokes and cardiovascular events.
Get With The Guidelines–Stroke was developed to help hospitals employ proven science-based treatment guidelines, including those developed by the American Stroke Association, American Heart Association and Brain Attack Coalition. These guidelines address acute stroke management, primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases, secondary prevention of strokes and the establishment of primary stroke centers.
As a Get With The Guidelines–Stroke participating hospital, St. Francis Health Center is encouraged to develop a comprehensive system for providing rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke when patients are admitted to the emergency department. This includes always being equipped to provide brain-imaging scans, making neurologists available to conduct patient evaluations and using clot-busting medications when appropriate.
St. Francis Health Center is also increasing its efforts to prevent secondary strokes through the aggressive use of medications, such as statins and anti-platelets, as indicated in the secondary stroke prevention guidelines. Other methods include the treatment of atrial fibrillation and atherosclerosis and management of smoking cessation, weight, exercise, diabetes and cholesterol.
Through Get With The Guidelines–Stroke, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association provides St. Francis Health Center training and staffing recommendations, care maps, discharge protocols, standing orders, data-collection and measurement tools. The program also facilitates creating and sharing best practices among participating hospitals.
“St. Francis Health Center is to be commended for its commitment to implementing standards of care and protocols for treating stroke patients,” 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.”
“St. Francis Health Center maintains an intense focus on providing high-quality, safe care to those experiencing strokes, and Get With The Guidelines enhances our ability to achieve this commitment,” said Scott Wells, St. Francis chief nursing officer and vice president of patient care services. “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.”
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.