Raritan Bay Medical Center Recognized For Exceptional Stroke Care

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PERTH AMBOY–Raritan Bay Medical Center, with locations in Old Bridge and Perth Amboy, has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes the medical center’s 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 the Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award demonstrates that our staff is committed to providing care that has been shown in scientific literature to quickly and efficiently treat stroke patients with evidence-based protocols,” said Raritan Bay Medical Center (RBMC) Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Joan Harewood, DNP, RN, NEA-BC.

RBMC has developed a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to the emergency department. This includes always being equipped to provide brain imaging scans, having neurologists available to conduct patient evaluations and using clot-busting medications when appropriate. To receive the Silver Plus Award, the medical center achieved at least 12 consecutive months of 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Achievement indicators and achieved at least 75 percent or higher compliance with six of 10 Stroke Quality Measures during that same period of time, which are reporting initiatives to measure quality of care. These measures include aggressive use of medications, such as tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol reducing drugs and smoking cessation, all aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.

“Raritan Bay Medical Center is to be commended for its commitment to implementing standards of care and protocols for treating stroke patients,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., 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.”

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. 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.

“The time is right for our Medical Center to be focused on improving the quality of stroke care. 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,” said Neurologist Rafiya Khakoo, MD, medical director of the RBMC Stroke Center. 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.

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