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July 18, 2016

UVA stroke program honored with two national quality awards

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For meeting national guidelines to provide fast, high-quality stroke care, the University of Virginia Health System’s stroke program received two national awards from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.

UVA earned the 2016 Get With The Guidelines ® -Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award and was also named to the Target: Stroke℠ Honor Roll Elite. According to the American Heart Association, the awards recognize UVA’s commitment to providing stroke care using nationally recognized guidelines based on the most recent research.

Exceeding National Quality Standards

To receive the Gold Plus Achievement Award, UVA demonstrated a compliance rate of 85 percent or more for 24 consecutive months with the core standard levels of care outlined by the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association. UVA also demonstrated a compliance rate of 75 percent or more with five of eight stroke quality measures in the most recent 12-month period.

Some of the measures met or exceeded by UVA include:

95 percent of patients who arrived at the hospital within two hours of their stroke symptoms beginning received tPA – a clot-busting stroke treatment drug – within three hours of their symptoms beginning. Treatment with tPA is most effective when given within three hours of the start of stroke symptoms. 99 percent of patients were given medications to help prevent blood clots, which are often the cause of a stroke. 99 percent of patients with hyperlipidemia (excess cholesterol and fat in their blood) – a risk factor for stroke and heart disease – were given statins, a group of medications designed to lower cholesterol. 99 percent of patients were assessed for stroke rehabilitation services before being released from the hospital.

UVA earned the Target: Stroke℠ Honor Roll Elite award by having 75 percent or more of stroke patients who should receive tPA get the drug within 60 minutes of arriving at the hospital, which is key to improving patient outcomes.

Quality Stroke Care Takes A Team

Excellent stroke care requires help from a large team, said UVA stroke program coordinator Beth Hundt. It begins with a family member or friend who recognizes stroke symptoms and calls 911, followed by the rescue squads that assess patients and transport them to UVA, where care begins in the Emergency Department and encompasses a large team.

“Nurses and physicians, pharmacists, radiology technicians, social workers, speech therapists, occupational therapists and physical therapists all work together to provide the best possible care to our stroke patients,” Hundt said. “At UVA, we care about our patients. That’s why we’ve made a commitment to turn treatment guidelines into lifelines.”

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