Blessing Hospital receives national recognition for third consecutive year for care of stroke patients

AHA Gold Plus

QUINCY — The American Heart Association recently recognized Blessing Hospital for being among the nation’s leading providers of stroke care.

The hospital earned the AHA’s Get With the Guidelines Gold level recognition for third consecutive year. Blessing received a Gold Plus Award for meeting or exceeding national core standard levels of care in the treatment of stroke patients for two consecutive calendar years or more.

The hospital also demonstrated compliance to additional levels of quality during the 24-month or greater period, receiving the Target: Stroke Elite Honor Roll award for meeting specific criteria that reduce the time between an eligible patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster drug, alteplase; and a Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll award for ensuring patients with Type 2 diabetes, who might be at higher risk for complications, receive the most up-to-date, evidence-based care when hospitalized due to stroke.

Between May 1, 2022 and May 31, 2023, 304 patients were diagnosed and treated for stroke at Blessing Hospital and 119 patients were diagnosed and treated for Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs). also known as mini-strokes. TIAs often occur shortly before a complete stroke.

In a press release, Steven Messe, volunteer chairperson of the American Heart Association Stroke System of Care Advisory Group and professor of neurology and director of fellowships of neurology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, said “We are incredibly pleased to recognize Blessing Hospital for its commitment to caring for patients with stroke. Participation in Get With The Guidelines is associated with improved patient outcomes, fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates – a win for health care systems, families and communities.”

The Blessing Hospital Stroke Committee, consisting of caregivers from different departments, is responsible for ensuring their fellow caregivers are educated regarding national standards of care and they face no barriers in the timely delivery of quality stroke care. In addition, the committee raises public awareness regarding the risks and warning signs of stroke. Dr. Christopher Solaro, chief medical officer for Blessing Health, is the Stroke Committee Physician Champion and Rachel Vogel is the committee’s clinical quality coordinator.

“Three consecutive years at a gold level of performance in delivering stroke care is a testament to the commitment of the Blessing Stroke Committee and every caregiver at Blessing Hospital,” Solaro said. “And speaking on behalf of the committee and all caregivers, success in treating stroke begins in the community, when people recognize the symptoms and call 9-1-1 immediately.”

Stroke is the number 5 cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the U.S. It occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted by a blood clot or a tear in an artery. When blood flow to the brain is interrupted, brain cells die. Brain cells do not regenerate or recover. When too many brain cells are lost, the person becomes disabled or dies. This is why quick recognition of stroke symptoms and calling 911 immediately, so assessment and treatment can begin on scene, can be life-saving.

“Time is precious when stroke occurs,” Solaro said. “Even the best healthcare may not help if a stroke is too far advanced by the time the patient reaches the hospital.”

To learn more about stroke, its risk factors and symptoms to know, go to blessinghealth.org/stroke.

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