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NSMC Salem Hospital Recognized for High Standards in Stroke Care

Salem, Mass. – North Shore Medical Center (NSMC) Salem Hospital has received the American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines – Stroke (GWTG–­Stroke) Silver Plus Performance Achievement Award. The award recognizes NSMC’s commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of stroke care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations.

“With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and this award addresses the important element of time,” said Wendy Way Cohen, the stroke program coordinator at NSMC. “Our hospitals have worked hard to develop a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to the emergency department. This includes always being equipped to provide brain imaging scans, having neurologists available to conduct patient evaluations and using clot-busting medications when appropriate.”

To receive the Get With The Guidelines Stroke Silver Plus Performance Achievement Award, NSMC achieved at least 12 consecutive months of 85 percent or higher adherence to all GTWG Stroke Performance Achievement indicators and achieved at least 75 percent or higher compliance with six of 10 GTWG Stroke Quality Measures during that same period of time, which are reporting initiatives to measure quality of care. These include aggressive use of medications like tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol-reducing drugs, and smoking cessation.

“The American Stroke Association commends NSMC for its success in implementing standards of care and protocols,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., national Get With The Guidelines Steering Committee Member and director of the acute stroke services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “The full implementation of acute care and secondary prevention recommendations and guidelines is a critical step in saving the lives and improving outcomes of stroke patients.”

GWTG–­Stroke uses the “teachable moment,” the time soon after a patient has had a stroke, when they are most likely to listen to and follow their healthcare professionals’ guidance. Studies demonstrate that patients who are taught how to manage their risk factors while still in the hospital reduce their risk of a second heart attack or stroke.

According to the American Stroke Association, each year approximately 700,000 people suffer a stroke — 500,000 are first attacks and 200,000 are recurrent. Of stroke survivors, 21 percent of men and 24 percent of women die within a year, and for those aged 65 and older, the percentage is even higher.
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