Rogers-Lowell Area News

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Date ArticleType
8/23/2019 Member News
Northwest Medical Centers in Bentonville and Springdale Awarded Certification as Advanced Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission

Northwest Medical Center in Bentonville and Springdale have earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center along with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s (AHA/ASA) Heart-Check mark, both symbols of quality from the respective organizations. The Heart-Check mark can only be displayed by hospitals that have met all requirements set by the heart and stroke associations.

The two campuses underwent a rigorous, unannounced onsite review in June. During the visit, the Joint Commission reviewer evaluated compliance with stroke-related certification standards. Using standards developed collaboratively with the AHA/ASA, the surveyors evaluated program management, the delivery of clinical care, and performance improvement including rapid delivery (less than 60 minutes) of intravenous tPA (clot-buster drug). The survey included onsite observations and interviews with staff.

Arkansas has the seventh highest death rate from stroke in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2017), improving from its number 1 ranking in 2010. About 20 people suffer from stroke each day in the state. In the U.S., stroke is the fourth-leading cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability nationwide, affecting nearly 800,000 people annually.

“Advanced 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 these Northwest Health facilities for using certification to reduce variation in its clinical processes and to strengthen its program structure and management framework for stroke patients.”

“We congratulate Northwest Health on this outstanding achievement,” says Nancy Brown, chief executive officer, the American Stroke Association. “This certification reflects its commitment to providing the highest quality of care for stroke patients.”

“When someone suffers a stroke, the time to treatment is of vital importance in giving that person the best chance at a full recovery,” said Steve Badger, CEO at Northwest Medical Center-Bentonville. “Residents of the communities we serve can be assured that our skilled caregivers are providing a high level of stroke care, as validated by these prestigious national organizations. Helping people know the symptoms – and take fast action – is a key goal.”

“Our teams are dedicated to providing high-quality care and are able to treat patients who suffer stroke more effectively than ever before,” said Hans Driessnack, CEO at Northwest Medical Center-Springdale. “Our team has worked extremely hard to ensure that everyone – in any phase of care for stroke patients – is educated, engaged and validated to be delivering evidence-based best practice care. I am proud of the teamwork and dedication shown by our employees and physicians to delivering outstanding patient care throughout this certification process.”

Symptoms of stroke can include a drooping face and arm weakness, particularly on one side of the body, along with slurred speech and difficulty seeing. Remembering the B.E.F.A.S.T. acronym is a way to recognize stroke and what to do when it is suspected:

B – Balance: Is there a sudden loss of balance or coordination?
E – Eyes: Is there a sudden change in vision or trouble seeing?
F – Face Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
A – Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S – Speech Difficulty: Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like, “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
T – Time to call 9-1-1: If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.

Other than a prior stroke, major stroke risk factors include:
• High blood pressure – It’s the most important controllable risk factor for stroke. About 77 percent of people who have a first stroke have blood pressure higher than 140/90 mm Hg. An estimated 93 million Americans have hypertension.
• Transient ischemic attack – About 15 percent of strokes are preceded by a TIA (or “ministroke”).
• Atrial fibrillation (Afib) – It increases stroke risk up to five times and affects more than 2.7 million Americans.
• Smoking – Current smokers have two to four times the stroke risk of nonsmokers or those who quit more than 10 years ago.

If any of these risk factors are present, it is important to follow up with a primary care physician on a yearly basis.

Established in 2003, Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers is awarded for a two-year period to Joint Commission-accredited acute-care hospitals. The disease-specific certification program recognizes centers that make exceptional efforts to foster better outcomes for stroke care. Achievement of certification signifies that the services provided include the critical elements to achieve long-term success in improving outcomes. For more information, please visit The Joint Commission website.