Friday, December 6, 2019

Joint Commission Awards Primary Stroke Center Certification To Lehigh Valley Hospital–Schuylkill

Patients in need of stroke care now have better access with a new certification just awarded to Lehigh Valley Hospital–Schuylkill.

The hospital has earned Gold Seal of Approval® Certification as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center from the Joint Commission. The certification reflects the hospital’s continuous compliance with performance standards. The Gold Seal is a symbol of quality that reflects a health care organization’s commitment to providing safe and quality patient care.

A stroke is a sudden interruption in the blood supply to the brain. Most strokes are caused by an abrupt blockage of arteries leading to the brain (ischemic stroke). Other strokes are caused by bleeding into brain tissue when a blood vessel bursts (hemorrhagic stroke).

A primary stroke center is defined as a hospital-based center with the resources and processes to care for acute stroke. At LVH–Schuylkill, that means members of the health care team can administer thrombolytic therapy – clot busting drugs – in the hospital setting and patients can likely spend their hospitalization at the local hospital.

Certification recognizes LVH–Schuylkill and other health care organizations that provide clinical programs across the continuum of care for stroke. Certification evaluates how organizations use clinical outcomes and performance measures to identify opportunities to improve care, as well as to educate and prepare patients and their caregivers for discharge.

Lehigh Valley Hospital–Schuylkill underwent a rigorous, onsite review in September. During the visit, a Joint Commission reviewer evaluated compliance with related certification standards. Joint Commission standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, measurement experts and patients. The reviewers also conducted onsite observations and interviews. The Joint Commission Primary Stroke Certification is offered in collaboration with the American Stroke Association.

“Primary Stroke Center Certification recognizes health care organizations committed to fostering continuous quality improvement in patient safety and quality of care,” says Mark Pelletier, RN, MS, chief operating officer, Accreditation and Certification Operations, and chief nursing executive, The Joint Commission. “We commend LVH–Schuylkill for using certification to reduce variation in its clinical processes and to strengthen its program structure and management framework for patients suffering from stroke.”

“We are honored to receive this recognition from the Joint Commission and even more thrilled for what it means for those in our community in need of primary stroke care,” says Bill Reppy, LVH–Schuylkill President.

LVH–Schuylkill has historically provided appropriate-level services for patients coming into the hospital’s Emergency Room with signs of a stroke. This certification makes that level of care accessible to local and regional ambulances transporting patients.

“Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a stroke and being able to provide clinical intervention in an expedient manner is one of most important factors that contribute to recovering from a stroke,” says Paul Delpais, MSN, Stroke Coordinator at LVH–Schuylkill.

Our Primary Stroke Center designation will allow us to not only provide treatment locally, but also continue to educate the public about ways to recognize the warning signs of stroke.

Use BE FAST test to check for the most common symptoms of a stroke for you or someone else:

· Balance: Is balance or coordination suddenly impaired?
· Eyes: Is vision suddenly blurred or double?
· Face: Smile and see if one side of the face droops.
· Arms: Raise both arms. Does one arm drop down?
· Speech: Say a short phrase and check for slurred or strange speech.
· Time: If the answer to any of these is yes, call 911 right away and write down the time when symptoms started.

In addition to the certification, LVH–Schuylkill provides 24/7 tele-neurology services within the hospital as well as consultative services of neurologists at LVPG Neurology–Schuylkill. For inpatients, LVH–Schuylkill also provides comprehensive rehabilitative services in its CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) Accredited Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit. For outpatients, the hospital offers an AACVPR Accredited (American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation) Cardiac Rehabilitation Center. Both types of services are often needed often by patients recovering from stroke and other neurological disorders.

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