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Baystate Franklin Medical Center Receives Award for Excellence in Stroke Care

April 18, 2014

GREENFIELD Baystate Franklin Medical Center has received the Get With The Guidelines® (GTWG) Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association recognizing their commitment to quality care for stroke patients. The hospital has received the GTWG award for four consecutive years, moving from Silver in 2011, to Gold in 2012, and advancing to Gold Plus in 2013 and 2014. Receiving the award demonstrates Baystate Franklin’s commitment to and success in implementing a higher standard of care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted guidelines.

Get With The Guidelines–Stroke helps Baystate Franklin’s staff develop and implement acute and secondary prevention guideline processes to improve patient care and outcomes. The program provides hospitals with a web-based patient management tool, best practice discharge protocols and standing orders, along with a robust registry and real-time benchmarking capabilities to track performance.

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.

“The quick and efficient use of guideline procedures can improve the quality of care for stroke patients and may reduce disability and save lives,” said Rajiv Padmanabhan, MD, a neurologist at Baystate Franklin and a member of the BFMC stroke committee. “At Baystate Franklin, we have a stroke team available 24/7, and also have the ability to quickly connect to physicians at Baystate Medical Center via a telemedicine process (TeleStroke®) for additional assessment.”

Dr. Padmanabhan also explained that the hospital has a stroke alert system with first responders bringing in a patient by ambulance. “Once the EMTs initiate that stroke alert, our team can assemble and be ready to accept the patient the moment he or she arrives at the hospital. This coordination among all who are involved in stroke assessment and treatment can mean the difference between life and death for a stroke patient.”

At Baystate Franklin Medical Center, the stroke team includes a neurologist, emergency physicians and nurses, radiologists, the CT scan technologists, and laboratory. A core team meets regularly to stay up to date with the latest best practices.

Knowing the key signs and symptoms of stroke and calling 9-1-1 immediately can save a life.

The F.A.S.T acronym is an easy way to remember:

• Face: Does the face look uneven? Ask the person to smile.

• Arm: Does one arm drift down? Ask the person to raise both arms.

• Speech: Does the speech sound strange? Ask the person to repeat a phrase.

• Time: If you observe these symptoms, call 9-1-1.

Following Get With The Guidelines-Stroke treatment guidelines, patients are started on aggressive risk-reduction therapies including the use of medications such as tPA, antithrombotics and anticoagulation therapy, along with cholesterol reducing drugs and smoking cessation counseling. These are all aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients. Hospitals must adhere to these measures at a set level for a designated period of time to be eligible for the achievement awards.

“Baystate Franklin Medical Center is dedicated to making our care for stroke patients among the best in the country,” said Gina Campbell, RN, chief operating officer, BFMC. “This recognition demonstrates that we are on the right track. I’m very proud of and impressed by our stroke care team. Congratulations to everyone who has contributed to the success of our program.”

For more information on Get With the Guidelines, visit heart.org/quality. To learn more about SCORE, visit www.scorema.org.