Self Regional Healthcare has announced that it has been certified as a Primary Stroke Center by DNV, a leading accrediting organization of U.S. hospitals. Self Regional Medical Center is now home to the only accredited Stroke Center in the Lakelands region.
During the recent announcement, Self Regional was also recognized by Keith Everett, vice president of quality and systems from the American Heart Association, for achieving 2013 Silver Plus status for its compliance with the “Get With the Guidelines” Stroke Achievement measurements.
“The process to become a recognized stroke center took a tremendous amount of collaboration between many of our physicians, nurses, other staff and our emergency transporters to institute evidence-based practices to save lives and improve outcomes, which is ultimately quality of life, for those individuals who suffer a stroke,” said Kendra Keeney, administrative director of Cardiovascular Care.
Self Regional’s recognition as a Stroke Center is tied to some impressive quality metrics, Mr. Everett said. Over the past three years, Self Regional has increased its compliance of providing tPA (a clot busting drug used in emergent stroke care) within 180 minutes of stroke from 20% to 92.9%.
The Journey Toward Stroke Center Accreditation
The journey toward stroke center accreditation began in 2010 with creating an emphasis on improving stroke care in the hospital and educating the community about signs and symptoms of stroke so they could begin the process of treatment faster by calling 911.
Stroke Care Coordinator Rusty Deason, RN, BSN, CCRN, coordinates the care for stroke patients and conducts community outreach and education. Mr. Deason visits stroke patients while they are in the hospital and closely monitors their care, working with other clinical nurse specialists to make real-time modifications based on the patient’s response to care. Neurology consult is available 24/7, from Piedmont Health Group Neurology physicians Dr. Anthony Holt, Dr. Wayne Sida and Dr. Bret Warner, or through the health system’s partnership with REACH (Remote Evaluation of Acute Ischemic Stroke) Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Stroke Network.
Before a patient reaches Self Regional, emergency response transporters work closely with the Emergency Care Center (ECC) at Self Regional to determine if the patients they are bringing to the ECC are suffering a stroke by doing neurological assessments, beginning IV fluids and providing advance notice to the Emergency Care Center.
Emergency Care staff performs imaging and laboratory tests to confirm a stroke and consult with the neurologists on the patient’s care.
As part of community outreach, Mr. Deason frequently travels to talk to groups about FAST (the signs and symptoms of a stroke—see graphic below). In 2012, Self Regional Healthcare held the first Strides Against Stroke 5k event in Greenwood.
How a Stroke Center Benefits the Region
Stroke is the third leading cause of death, and the leading cause of disability in the United States.
“What we continue to see is that often people are even more afraid of suffering a stroke than they may be of having a heart attack,” said Matt Logan, M.D., Emergency Care Center physician. “Stroke has a lasting effect o n families and can leave them with a loved one who is suddenly unable to care for themselves. Strokes can cause visible and permanent devastation.
“Having access to a certified stroke center in the region enhances the quality of care a person having a stroke will receive,” Dr. Logan said. “Receiving the proper care in that small window of time—180 minutes—often means better long-term brain function and motor function.”
For decades, residents of South Carolina (and neighboring states North Carolina and Georgia) have been part of an aptly coined term “stroke buckle,” a region with a higher than average stroke mortality rate.