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Perfect Score for Saint Mary's Certification from the Joint Commission

Perfect score for Saint Mary's certification from the Joint Commission
Immediate support and proper follow-up care crucial after stroke

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — One of only 600 certified primary stroke centers in the United States, to be eligible, Saint Mary's first had to become a Joint Commission-accredited acute care hospital, and then Saint Mary's Stroke Center had to demonstrate these standards for the certification process:

• Program management

• Delivering or facilitating clinical care

• Supporting self-management

• Clinical information management

• Performance improvement and measurement

"Receiving this award means that Saint Mary's efficiently provides the critical elements to achieve long-term success in improving outcomes, which we do in many different ways with our procedures, teamwork and education and follow-up of stoke care," said Muhammad Farooq, MD, vascular neurologist and medical director of the Stroke Center, located in the Hauenstein Center at Saint Mary's.

Saint Mary's Stroke Center provides support immediately upon someone's entrance into the Emergency Department, if a stroke is suspected.

Emergency medical technicians are trained to bring a suspected stroke victim directly to the CT scanner in the Emergency Department in conjunction with a quick assessment, and after a stroke is diagnosed, physicians in the Emergency department are trained to administer tPA, a drug that dramatically improves patient outcomes.

Sadly, most people don't seek immediate treatment.

"Only five percent of people who suffer a stroke seek emergency treatment within the recommended three-hour window," said Farooq, MD. For those that do seek the treatment within three hours, their outcomes are much better.

(MORE) Saint Mary's Stroke Center Receives Perfect Score 2

More than half of inpatient neuroscience visits at Saint Mary's are due to strokes, emphasizing how widespread this epidemic is. All of the teams on Hauenstein 3 who care for patients on this floor ensure that stroke patients receive a follow-up consultation with Dr. Farooq within two to four weeks. Follow-up is again provided after six months, then after a year, "as long as everything looks okay." Molly Gallagher, interim nurse clinician working with Dr. Farooq on stroke projects.

Timely treatment of a transient ischemic attack is crucial. Within the first 48 hours of a transient ischemic attack, a person has an increased chance of having another stroke, according to Farooq.

Just how many people have strokes?

Prevention is the best way to treat a stroke. Stroke risk factors are:

• Hypertension

• High cholesterol

• Diabetes

• Smoking

• Obesity

• Sleep Apnea

Saint Mary's Health Care is an integrated network of health care excellence offering a unique combination of capabilities to deliver a health care experience that is more complete and personally satisfying. Our commitment to offer the latest technology and most highly skilled physicians in a holistic, patient-centered environment has made us a progressive leader in cancer care, neuroscience, orthopedics, diabetes and endocrine care, kidney transplants, and integrative health care.

The network encompasses more than 2,400 employees, a 344-bed, The Joint Commission-accredited teaching hospital, The Lacks Cancer Center, The Wege Institute: Mind, Body and Spirit, the Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology, the Neuroscience Program, three fitness centers, five community outreach centers and affiliations with home health care, rehabilitation services, and the area's premier primary care network, Advantage Health Physician Network. Saint Mary's has several times been awarded the Governor's Award of Excellence and named one of West Michigan's 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For. Saint Mary's is a member of Trinity Health, the country's fourth-largest Catholic health care system.

One American every 40 seconds suffers a stroke, according to 2009 data. This is an increase from one every 46 seconds in 2006.