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HOLYOKE MEDICAL CENTER HONORED WITH FIVE AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE IN STROKE CARE

Jul 01, 2019

Holyoke Medical Center (HMC) has received five prestigious national and state awards for excellence and quality of stroke care in Massachusetts, including the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus & Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus Quality Achievement Award. The other four awards were presented by the Paul Coverdell National Acute Stroke Program at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.


(Photo credit – Howie Hecht Photography): Holyoke Medical Center received five prestigious national and state awards for excellence and quality of stroke care in Massachusetts at the Coverdell Stroke Systems of Care Meeting & Annual Award Ceremony on June 13, 2019. From left to right: Anita Christie, Director, Office of Preventative Services, MA Department of Public Health; Challis Krulewitz, R.N., Emergency Department, Holyoke Medical Center; Cherelyn Roberts, MS-HCA, BSN, RN, Manager of Community Navigation/Call Center, Holyoke Medical Center; Darlene Mackey, R.N., Emergency Department, Holyoke Medical Center; Carol Scott, R.N., Emergency Department, Holyoke Medical Center; Darci Smith, R.N., Emergency Department, Holyoke Medical Center; Kyle McNamara, R.N., Emergency Department, Holyoke Medical Center; April Sheehan, R.N., Emergency Department, Holyoke Medical Center; Peter Hall, R.N., Emergency Department, Holyoke Medical Center; Angela Smith, R.N., Manager of Stroke Service, Holyoke Medical Center; Lee H Schwamm MD, FAHA, National Chairperson of the Quality Oversight Committee and Executive Vice Chair of Neurology, Director of Acute Stroke Services, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts

Angela Smith, R.N., HMC’s Manager of Stroke Service, stated “at Holyoke Medical Center we have an amazing team focused on providing the very best care to all of our patients, and with stroke patients that means providing the best care with speed and efficiency to protect from brain loss. We are honored to be recognized again for our hard work and dedication to our patients.” 

Recognition for HMC’s stroke program included:

American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s:

  • Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus & Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus Award, recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence. HMC earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period. These measures include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. Before discharge, patients also receive education on managing their health, get a follow-up visit scheduled, as well as other care transition interventions. HMC also met the quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke.

Paul Coverdell National Acute Stroke Program at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health:

  • Coverdell National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) Rate of at Least 95 Percent Award, recognizing HMC for performing NIHSS assessments on at least 95 percent of stroke patients from January 2018-December 2018. The NIHSS is an evidence-based tool that is used to provide a quantitative measure of stroke-related neurologic deficit.    
  • Defect-free Care Award, which recognizes HMC for providing defect-free care for 90 percent or more of its stroke patients by utilizing all of the interventions for which each patient was eligible, from the period of January 2018-December 2018. Defect-free care is achieved when a patient receives the appropriate care based on clinical guidelines.
  • Modified Rankin Scale greater than or equal to 85% Award, which recognizes HMC as a hospital which completed the Modified Rankin Scale on at least 85% of stroke patients from January 2018-December 2018.
  • Dysphagia Screening greater than or equal to 95% Award, recognizing HMC for completing dysphagia screening on at least 95% of stroke patients from January 2018-December 2018.

“Holyoke Medical Center is committed to following evidenced-based clinical guidelines developed to improve patient outcomes, such as those implemented by the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke initiative,” said Spiros Hatiras, President and CEO of Holyoke Medical Center and Valley Health Systems.  “We commend our team for continuing to efficiently utilize the tools and resources provided to help us track and measure our success for the benefit of every patient.”

“We are pleased to recognize Holyoke Medical Center for their commitment to stroke care,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., national chairperson of the Quality Oversight Committee and Executive Vice Chair of Neurology, Director of Acute Stroke Services, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. “Research has shown that hospitals adhering to clinical measures through the Get With The Guidelines quality improvement initiative can often see fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates.”

Stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and across the United States, and a leading cause of adult disability. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year. Immediate assessment and treatment are critical to help improve outcomes.

Knowing the key signs and symptoms of stroke and calling 9-1-1 immediately can save a life. The F.A.S.T. acronym is an easy way to remember: 

  • Face: Does the face look uneven? Ask the person to smile
  • Arm: Does one arm drift down? Ask the person to raise both arms
  • Speech: Does the speech sound strange? Ask the person to repeat a phrase
  • Time: If you observe these symptoms, call 9-1-1

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