Community Healthcare System Stroke Centers offer unparalleled patient care

Community Healthcare System Stroke Centers offer unparalleled patient care
By: Kellyn Vale Last Updated: August 25, 2020

As a Joint Commission Certified Comprehensive Stroke Center, Community Hospital is among an elite group of hospitals nationwide that provide the highest level of expertise and treatment of the most complex, acute strokes.

Supported by the certified Primary Stroke Centers at St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago and St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart, Community Healthcare System hospitals deliver exceptional care so stroke patients and those at risk can live longer, healthier, more fulfilling lives.

“We want to ensure that people served by our healthcare system receive top notch, quality, consistent care,” said Dr. Aamir Badruddin, neuroendovascular neurologist and medical director of the comprehensive stroke program at Community Hospital.

Stroke is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States, according to the American Heart Association (AHA) and American Stroke Association (ASA).

About 85 percent of all strokes are caused by an obstruction within a vessel supplying blood to the brain. A loss of oxygen and nutrients then causes brain cells to die. Physical disabilities, as well as difficulty with thinking and speaking, may result from damage to the brain. Research shows that timely intervention to remove the blockage is the most effective treatment.

“We know from research that when a stroke occurs, millions of brain cells die every minute and hence, literally, every minute counts,” Badruddin said. “Therefore, our team of stroke experts are available at all Community Healthcare System locations to ensure solidity and advanced care in the utmost timely manner.”

Community Healthcare System hospitals’ dedication to treat stroke effectively and efficiently is unparalleled, and their life-saving efforts have earned notable recognition from the AHA and ASA. The organization has presented hospitals of Community Healthcare System with Get With The Guidelines® - Stroke Quality Achievement Awards, with Community Hospital and St. Mary Medical Center achieving Gold Plus status and St. Catherine Hospital earning Silver Plus status. These achievements represent quality care measures met for at least 12 consecutive months or more.

“As a system, we are united in the battle against stroke,” added Jill Conner, MSN, APRN, administrative director of Neuroscience, Cerebrovascular Services and Structural Heart. “Working with our EMS providers and our healthcare colleagues across Northwest Indiana, we are able to significantly improve the outcomes of patients who have had an acute ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke.”

The Get With The Guidelines® program is designed to help hospital teams provide the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. The quality measures focus on appropriate use of guideline-based care for stroke patients, including aggressive use of medications such as clot-busting and anti-clotting drugs, blood thinners and cholesterol-reducing drugs, preventive action for deep vein thrombosis and smoking cessation counseling.

The quality of care at Community Healthcare System hospitals is also reflected in their ‘door-to-needle’ time, or the time elapsed from the moment a patient presents with symptoms at the hospital to the start of IVT.

Over the past two years at least 85 percent of Community Hospital, St. Catherine Hospital and St. Mary Medical Center’s eligible ischemic stroke patients have received tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), within 60 minutes of arriving at the hospital. This has earned them the following Target: Stroke℠ honor roll distinctions: Target: Stroke Elite and Target: Stroke Advanced Therapy. These awards demonstrate complex, timely and patient-centered care.

“Each of our stroke centers are equipped to provide treatment with alteplase, the clot-busting drug for strokes, for all eligible patients,” Conner said. “By using a standardized evidence-based protocol, no matter if the patient is brought to our Comprehensive Stroke Center or one of our Primary Stroke Centers, we are able to deliver quality consistent care in a most timely fashion.”

A thrombolytic or clot-busting agent, tPA is the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the urgent treatment of ischemic stroke. If given intravenously in the first three hours after the start of stroke symptoms, tPA has been shown to significantly reverse the effects of stroke and reduce permanent disability.

“At Community Healthcare System, we share a common goal to treat strokes rapidly and reduce the chance for long-term disability,” Conner said. “We are united in our efforts, and patients can count on advanced diagnostic and treatment technology when they seek care from our stroke programs.”

For more information about stroke care at the hospitals of Community Healthcare System, visit COMHS.org/stroke.