Princeton Health News

Princeton Medical Center Earns Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award for Stroke Care

September 28, 2018
Silver Plus Stroke 72spi

Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center (PMC) has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award, recognizing the hospital’s commitment to adhere to the latest evidence-based guidelines for diagnosing and treating stroke patients.

According to the AHA/ASA, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds. Nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

Get With The Guidelines is a hospital-based program that provides tools and resources to hospitals to improve quality of care and outcomes for stroke patients. PMC demonstrated 85 percent or greater compliance with seven targeted Achievement Measures for one calendar year to achieve the Silver Award, as well as 75 percent or greater compliance with at least five of eight stroke Quality Measures during that same 12-month period to achieve the Plus Award. These evidence-based guideline measures relate to critical areas such as administering appropriate medications in a timely manner and providing patient/caregiver education or counseling.

“Patient care is our top priority, and the Get With The Guidelines program supports excellent care every step of the way,” said Paul K. Kaiser, MD, Medical Director of PMC's Stroke Program. “When you’re dealing with a stroke, every minute counts, and the guidelines certainly help expedite diagnosis and treatment. They also promote appropriate follow-up care, education and rehabilitation to help patients through their recovery.”

“The Silver Plus Award represents the collective efforts of our stroke committee, physicians, nurses and therapists who have dedicated themselves to the care of stroke patients,” said Philip Tran, RN, Stroke Coordinator. “Such an achievement is only attained through teamwork and collaboration.”

Achievement measures on which hospitals are evaluated for the Silver Award include the percentage of eligible stroke patients who received:

  • An intravenous, clot-busting medication within three hours of the time they were last known to be well (applicable only to those who arrived at the hospital within two hours of when they were last known to be well)
  • Antithrombotic therapy by the end of their second day in the hospital
  • A prescription for antithrombotic therapy at discharge
  • VTE—venous thromboembolism—prophylaxis on the day of or day after hospital admission
  • Smoking cessation education or counseling during hospital stay (can also apply to caregivers)
  • A prescription for statin medication at discharge to control high cholesterol, a risk factor for stroke
  • A prescription for anticoagulation therapy at discharge for patients with atrial fibrillation/flutter

PMC achieved the required 85 percent or greater compliance on all seven of these Achievement Measures, and greater than 95 percent on five of them, during the award time frame. The hospital uses a nurse-driven, concurrent process to track performance on the core stroke performance measures, which allows the stroke committee to proactively address any performance issues.

The stroke committee—a multidisciplinary team that includes physicians, nurses, pharmacists, physical and occupational therapists and leadership—is dedicated to the continual improvement of the stroke program.

In the Emergency Department, PMC utilizes a Helsinki protocol, meaning that patients brought in by emergency medical services (EMS) with stroke symptoms are taken directly to the CT suite for diagnostic testing. A nurse accompanies the patient and EMS personnel.

This process helps expedite treatment, particularly the intravenous clot-busting drug, which cannot be administered until a stroke is confirmed by the CT scan.

About Penn Medicine Princeton Health
Penn Medicine Princeton Health is one of the most comprehensive healthcare systems in New Jersey, providing acute care hospital services through Princeton Medical Center; behavioral healthcare through Princeton House Behavioral Health; in-home nursing, rehabilitation and hospice care through Princeton HomeCare; primary and specialty care through Princeton Medicine Physicians; ambulatory surgery and wellness services. For more information, visit Penn Medicine Princeton Health is part of the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS), which, together with the University of Pennsylvania’s Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine, forms Penn Medicine, one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research and excellence in patient care.

Andy Williams, 609-252-8785

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