RMH recognized for achievement in stroke care

Edited by Chris Graham

RMH has been awarded the American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Bronze Performance Achievement Award for its commitment to providing high-quality care for stroke patients.

The award recognizes RMH’s commitment to and success in implementing a higher standard of stroke care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations.

“The Get With The Guidelines—Stroke Bronze Performance Achievement Award addresses the important element of time,” explained Daniel Chehebar, DO, a neurologist with RMH Neurology and the RMH stroke care team leader. “With a stroke, time lost is brain lost. RMH has developed a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to the Emergency Department.”

This system includes always being equipped to provide brain imaging scans to detect the type and severity of the stroke; having neurologists readily available to conduct patient evaluations; and using clot-busting medications to treat the stroke when appropriate, Dr. Chehebar noted.

Janet Marshman, RN, clinical stroke educator, noted that RMH is working toward becoming a Joint Commission-certified Primary Stroke Center.

“The safety of our patients is our number-one priority,” Marshman said. “Enhancing the quality of our stroke care is particularly important in this area, as Virginia is included in the ‘stroke belt,’ a group of eleven states where stroke mortality is more than 10 percent higher than the national average.”

In early 2009, RMH formed a multi-disciplinary stroke task force. Later that year, RMH added a dedicated stroke unit staffed by nurses specially trained in caring for stroke patients, she said.

“The time is right for RMH to be focused on improving the quality of stroke care by implementing the ASA’s treatment guidelines,” said Dr. Chehebar. “The number of acute ischemic stroke (stroke caused by vessel blockage rather than hemorrhage) 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 ASA, each year approximately 795,000 people suffer a stroke. Of those, 610,000 are first attacks and 185,000 are recurrent. Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States suffers a stroke, and one out of every 18 deaths in the United States is attributable to stroke, the ASA reports. While the largest percent of stroke victims are over age 65, stroke can affect people of any age.

“Thanks to our entire team’s commitment to the highest quality stroke care, patients receive rapid assessment and treatment, which results in better chances for survival and better recovery with less long-term impact,” Dr. Chehebar noted. “What’s important about this award is that it recognizes our team’s efforts to save lives and reduce the impact of stroke.”

augusta free press news