Date: 2/16/2011

Stroke Care Earns Achievement Award

St. Catherine Hospital’s Jo Ann Birdzell, chief executive officer (center) and Craig Bolda, chief operating officer (right), accept the American Heart Association’s Get with the Guidelines - Stroke Bronze Award from Greg Poe, Quality Improvement Initiatives director.

St. Catherine Hospital has developed a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients who are admitted through 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.

For the outstanding care provided, St. Catherine Hospital has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®—Stroke Bronze Performance Achievement Award. The award recognizes St. Catherine Hospital’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 the Get With The Guidelines—Stroke Bronze Performance Achievement Award addresses the important element of time,” says Paula Swenson, chief nursing officer and vice president of Patient Care Services.

To receive the Get With The Guidelines—Stroke Bronze Performance Achievement Award, St. Catherine Hospital consistently followed the treatment guidelines in the Get With The Guidelines—Stroke program for 90 days. These include aggressive use of medications like tPA, anti-thrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol reducing drugs, and smoking cessation. The 90-day evaluation period is the first in an ongoing self-evaluation by the hospital to continually reach the 85 percent compliance level needed to sustain this award.

“St. Catherine Hospital’s team should be recognized for its success in implementing standards of care and protocols,” says Andrea DeLeo, D.O., medical director of the stroke unit. “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.”

Get With The Guidelines—Stroke incorporates the “teachable moment,” - the time soon after a patient has had a stroke, when they are most likely to listen 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 stroke. Through Get With The Guidelines—Stroke, customized patient education materials are made available at the point of discharge, based on patients’ individual risk profiles.

“The number of acute ischemic stroke patients eligible for treatment is expected to grow over the next decade due to increasing stroke incidence and a large aging population,” says DeLeo.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 45 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every three minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

Click Here for more information about the St. Catherine Hospital Stroke Center.

About Get With The Guidelines

Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that empowers healthcare teams to save lives and reduce healthcare costs by helping hospitals follow evidence-based guidelines and recommendations. For more information, visit