HCMH stroke care scores quality award

By Anthony Gonzalez agonzalez@civitasmedia.com

May 30, 2014

On Wednesday afternoon, Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital held a celebration after receiving the Get With The Guidelines Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award for implementing specific quality improvement measures outlined by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association for the treatment of stroke patients.

According to HCMH, Get With The Guidelines Stroke helps hospital teams provide the most up-to-date, research-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients.

Hospital officials said HCMH earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients for two consecutive years. These measures include aggressive use of medications and risk-reduction therapies aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.

“We are dedicated to excellence in stroke care and The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines–Stroke helps us achieve that goal,” said Paul Hammes, the hospital’s chief executive officer. “This award confirms our deep commitment to ensure that each stroke patient has immediate access to the highest levels of care available.”

“We are pleased to recognize Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital for their commitment and dedication to stroke care,” said Deepak L. Bhatt, M.D., M.P.H., national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines steering committee and executive director of Interventional Cardiovascular Programs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Studies have shown that hospitals that consistently follow Get With The Guidelines quality improvement measures can reduce patients’ length of stays and 30-day readmission rates and reduce disparity gaps in care.”

At the ceremony, stroke survivor Natasha Bourne, of Piney Creek, provided testimony of her ordeal.

“I never imagined having a stroke at age 22,” said Bourne often wiping tears as she reflected on her stroke experienced in 2005. “You’re never too young. Stroke can hit anyone.”

Four days after the birth of her second daughter, Bourne developed a headache. While trying to remain home with her baby thinking symptoms were related to a migraine, Bourne became paralyzed on her right side. Her husband realized something was wrong. They went to HCMH where staff immediately realized signs of stroke. Bourne was raced to Forsyth Medical Center.

“I knew in my mind what I wanted to say, but it wouldn’t come out right,” said Bourne.

After discharge, Bourne returned to HCMH for speech, occupational and physical therapy. “I was frustrated because I had to learn how to read, write, talk and walk,” said Bourne, who also indicated a preexisting condition with her heart may have led to a stroke.

Hospital officials said signs of stroke were revealed in Bourne’s story — arm weakness, speech difficulty, difficulty walking and headaches.

Get With The Guidelines Stroke helps Hugh Chatham’s staff implement prevention measures, which include patient education on risk factors, recognizing warning signs for stroke, and medication safety.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the number four cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

Anthony Gonzalez may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @newsgonz.