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Yolanda Alcantar, CNRN, Nurse Manager at Lovelace Medical Center shares Lovelace Medical Center’s recent recognition by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and how this is improving outcomes for stroke patients.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is one of the leading causes of death and serious, long-term 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.

Lovelace Medical center has received the Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award, the highest level award for stroke care, from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association in the last two years. Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that empowers healthcare teams to save lives and reduce healthcare costs by helping hospitals follow evidence-based guidelines and recommendations. The award recognizes Lovelace Medical Center’s commitment and success in implementing excellent care for stroke patients, according to evidence-based guidelines.

Get With The Guidelines–Stroke helps hospital staff develop and implement acute and secondary prevention guideline processes to improve patient care and outcomes. The program provides hospitals with a web-based patient management tool, best practice discharge protocols and standing orders, along with a robust registry and real-time benchmarking capabilities to track performance. The quick and efficient use of guideline procedures can improve the quality of care for stroke patients and may reduce disability and save lives.

Following Get With The Guidelines-Stroke treatment guidelines, patients are started on aggressive risk-reduction therapies including the use of medications such as tPA, antithrombotics and anticoagulation therapy, along with cholesterol reducing drugs and smoking cessation counseling. These are all aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients. Hospitals must adhere to these measures at a set level for a designated period of time to be eligible for the achievement awards.

With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and the Get With The Guidelines–Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award demonstrates Lovelace Medical Center’s commitment to being one of the top hospitals in the country for providing aggressive, proven stroke care. Lovelace Medical Center has a multidisciplinary system in place for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to the Lovelace Medical Center Emergency Department. This includes always being equipped to provide brain imaging scans, having a stroke team available to conduct patient evaluations and using clot-busting medications when appropriate.

Know the signs of a stroke so you can act F-A-S-T.

F stands for Face. Do they have an uneven smile?

A stands for Arm. When lifting both arms, is one hard to keep up?

S stands for Speech. Are they slurring their words?

T stands for Time. As soon as you see any of these symptoms, call 911.

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