The first hospital in Interior Alaska, Foundation Health Partners Fairbanks Memorial Hospital has earned the 2020 American Heart Association’s Get with the Guidelines® – Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award in July, and also qualified for the Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll recognition.
The only full service hospital in the Interior, Fairbanks Memorial Hospital (FMH) is taking stroke care to the next level. With the number of stroke victims increasing annually across the nation, FMH is going to extraordinary lengths to improve care right here at home.
The first hospital in Interior Alaska, FMH has earned the 2020 American Heart Association’s (AHA) Get with the Guidelines® – Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award in July, and also qualified for the Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll recognition.
The AHA’s Get With The Guidelines® Stroke program is an in-hospital program for improving stroke care by promoting consistent adherence to the latest scientific treatment guidelines.
This award not only recognizes FMH’s commitment to implementing nationally accepted, evidence-based standards and recommendations, but also its success in ensuring stroke patients receive a high standard of stroke care. AHA quality achievement award is tangible evidence of the care team’s hard work and commitment to saving lives.
“Our participation in Get With The Guidelines® demonstrates our commitment to quality care,” said Chief Nursing Officer Sarah Martin, RN, MSN, CNML, MSRNC. “We are proud to be a part of the American Heart Association’s efforts to turn guidelines into lifelines.”
FMH 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. The measures were set to a primary goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. Before discharge, patients also receive education on managing their health, have a follow-up visit scheduled, as well as other care transition interventions deemed appropriate by the care team.
Spearheaded by Mary Knight, RN and Dawn Brefczynski, RN, FMH implemented the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines® standards. Using the tools and resources provided, these two were integral in tracking and measuring the hospital's success in meeting evidenced-based clinical guidelines, ultimately to improve patient outcomes.
“This would not have been possible without the immense hard work and dedication of Mary and Dawn." Said Emergency Department Director Julie Fry, RN, BSN, MHA, CNML. "They have spent hours and hours scrutinizing and making this award happen."
FMH additionally received the Association’s Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet quality measures developed with more than 90 % of compliance for 12 consecutive months for the ‘Overall Diabetes Cardiovascular Initiative Composite Score.’
Knowing the signs
According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.
If there are any signs of stroke, always call 9-1-1 to get a patient to the hospital emergency department immediately. During a stroke, every second counts – 1.9 million brain cells die every minute. Early treatment is paramount to save the brain.
The first step is early recognition of stroke symptoms. Remember early signs by learning the AHA stroke campaign acronym, F.A.S.T.:
F is for FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A is for ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? Or is there a loss of coordination or sensation to one side?
S is for SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
T equals TIME: If you see any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Other warning signs could be sudden confusion or trouble understanding, sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes or sudden trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance. If any of these symptoms are present, call 9-1-1 immediately.
It is also very important to note the time of first stroke symptom. The health care provider treating the stroke victim will need to know how long the symptoms occurred, and when the patient was last without symptoms. This is vital information. Research published by the AHA shows that treating a stroke by just one minute earlier gives the patient back nearly two days of healthy life.
Stroke prevention begins at home, and research shows that 80 percent of all strokes are preventable. Learning the signs of a stroke is very important, but knowing ways to improve health and prevent stroke
is equally important. While some stroke risk factors such as age, gender, or family history cannot be changed, there are many stroke risk factors that can be managed. These factors include high blood pressure, smoking cigarettes, diabetes, poor diet, physical inactivity, obesity, and high cholesterol. Controlling blood pressure is the single most important changeable risk factor for stroke. Blood pressure should be less than 120/80. Having a normal blood pressure can drop a risk of stroke death by half. Other measures to prevent stroke are to control blood sugar, lower cholesterol, eat a healthy diet, and most important, take medications as prescribed.