By ELAINE ALLEN-EMRICH

Community News Editor

When a patient enters Englewood Community Hospital with stroke symptoms, doctors know the typical person loses 1.9 million neurons every minute the stroke is untreated.

Stroke is the fifth-highest cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. has a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year, according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Response time and the correct diagnosis means everything. For these and other reasons, Englewood Community Hospital works to treat patients quickly.

The hospital recently received an award from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Honor Roll program. The honor roll system measures nationwide hospital’s response times in treating patients from 30 to 60 minutes.

ECH earned the Target: Get With The Guidelines Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. On average the “door-to-needle times” were within 45 minutes for at least 75 percent of applicable patients. The door-to-needle times within 30 minute treatment happens at least 50 percent of the time for applicable stroke patients at Englewood Community Hospital.

“The 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,” said Tiffany Briggs, ECH spokeswoman. “Englewood Community Hospital 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 should also receive education on managing their health, get a follow-up visit scheduled, as well as other care transition interventions.

“Englewood Community Hospital is dedicated to improving the quality of care for our stroke and heart failure patients by implementing the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke and Heart Failure initiative,” said Cathy Carr, DNP, MSN, RN-BC, CPHQ, LHRM, Vice President Quality & Patient Safety in a statement to the Sun. “The tools and resources provided help us track and measure our success in meeting evidenced-based clinical guidelines developed to improve patient outcomes.”

Englewood Community Hospital also received the association’s Target: Heart FailureSM Honor Roll award. Hospitals are required to meet specific criteria that improves medication adherence, provides early follow-up care and coordination and enhances patient education. The goal is to reduce hospital readmissions and help patients improve their quality of life in managing this chronic condition.

“We are pleased to recognize Englewood Community Hospital 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.”

The hospital also follows up with stroke patients.

“We have what’s called Care Assure,” she said. “The Care Assure patient navigator interacts with and follows the heart failure patient post-hospital discharge. They schedule follow-up appointments, answer questions about discharge recommendations, help to facilitate medication adherence and access, and work to identify or eliminate any barriers to follow-up care the patient may experience.”

Briggs said the hospital has programs such as “Lunch & Learn with a Cardiologist” to help educate patients. On the ECH website is a survey (www.profilers.evaliahealth.com) that anyone can take which asks “Are you ready to learn about your heart risk?”

Englewood Community Hospital is a 100-bed, acute care facility, straddled on the line of Sarasota and Charlotte counties. ECH has 14 consecutive ‘A’s for Hospital Safety Grade by The Leapfrog Group and Accredited Chest Pain Center with PCI by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care.

Leapfrog gets data from the hospitals through a survey, and from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services.

New Englewood Community Hospital CEO Michael Ehrat recently wrote to the community his thoughts about the hospital.

“As an acute care hospital, offering a wide variety of healthcare services, we strive to create a culture that fosters compassion and kindness,” he wrote. “With the patient as our primary focus, we have been recognized for our efforts in the prevention and treatment of illnesses including heart disease, general surgery, emergency care, urology and orthopedics. Working with a team of dedicated community physicians, we are able to achieve our vision of being the healthcare provider of choice in the community we serve. I am proud of our hospital and the role it plays in our community.”

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