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Baystate Medical Center's cardiac program awarded prestigious Beacon Award

July 31, 2015
Beacon Award Winners Group Photo

Wayne Augusta of North Adams has always been an active man - recreationally and professionally as a law enforcement officer. He thought he was in good health, until one day earlier this year when he lost the ability to catch his breath during his routine martial arts exercises.

Emergency Surgery

He was rushed to Baystate Medical Center’s Davis Family Heart & Vascular Center, where it was determined that several blood vessels surrounding Wayne’s heart were blocked, and he was suffering from a heart attack. Wayne’s mind was racing.

“I asked the nurse if I was going to die and she replied ‘not on our watch.’ From the moment I arrived, I was treated like I was top priority. I received Presidential treatment,” Wayne said.

Wayne’s right coronary artery and left anterior descending artery, two major passageways around the heart, were compromised. Doctors and nurses rushed into action, using emergency surgery to remove the critical clot while placing a stent in the left anterior descending artery to get blood flowing again.

“I immediately felt better. Much better, like I was 15 again,” he said.

Gold Level care

Wayne’s experience is a great example of why Baystate’s Heart & Vascular Critical Care (HVCC) and Progressive Care Units (PCU) have achieved a prestigious gold level American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) Beacon Award for Excellence. These collaborative units are one of only three units to earn Gold recognition this year across the state of Massachusetts and one of four in all of New England. Recipients of a Gold Beacon Award demonstrate staff-driven excellence in sustained unit performance and patient outcomes that exceed national benchmarks.

For families across western Massachusetts, this award signifies exceptional care and overall superb patient satisfaction during some of the most challenging moments that a family must face.

“Our entire team delivers consistently high quality results in an atmosphere of collegiality with the center of our work focused around the patient and family,” Nurse Manager Eileen Grunwald said.

For nurses, a Beacon Award signals a positive and supportive work environment with greater collaboration between colleagues and leaders, higher morale and lower employee turnover. The Beacon Award includes bronze, silver, and gold levels, each with a three year designation. Beacon applicants are awarded on criteria that includes effective communication, management, evidence-based processes, outcome measurement, strong leadership, and appropriate staffing.

“The entire team is dedicated to our critically ill patients and the cardiac population at large,” Grunwald said. “Our nurses consistently amaze me with their skill, compassion and dedication to always doing the right thing with their steadfast and excellent patient care.”

About the unit

Baystate’s Heart & Vascular Critical Care (HVCC) and Progressive Care Units (PCU) care for some of the most critically ill patients across the region. The unit recorded approximately 8,500 patient days for 2014, with an average of 22 patients per day. There are 18 critical care beds and 12 intermediate care beds available for patient care.

Wayne says thanks to the continued care that he is receiving following his discharge, he is healthier than he ever was prior to his heart attack and is preparing to accept a new position as a local police officer.

“I want people to know and rest assure that when they come to Baystate they will receive the best care that is available from a professional staff,” he said. “Baystate worked together with me to foster a lifestyle that's healthier and more productive and I feel it already after only three months. Thank you Baystate for saving my life, twice...I absolutely love you all.

The Davis Family Heart & Vascular Center was also recognized as one of the top cardiac surgery centers for 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.