SEATTLE, Dec. 8, 2006 – Swedish Medical Center was recently recertified as a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO).
Swedish first received certification as a Primary Stroke Center in 2004. At that time, Swedish was one of the first 40 hospitals in the country (out of more than 5,700 hospitals nationwide) to be awarded certification for our First Hill and Providence campuses. This recertification now includes Swedish Ballard and Swedish Issaquah – as well as Swedish's First Hill and Providence campuses. Currently, there are only six JCAHO-certified Primary Stroke Centers in Washington state.
JCAHO's Primary Stroke Center certification program was developed in collaboration with the American Stroke Association and grants certification to hospitals that demonstrate that the same standard of care is provided to every patient who presents with stroke symptoms. To achieve recertification, Swedish underwent an intensive, three-day JCAHO survey in August that involved all four Swedish campuses. Each was required to meet the following criteria:
- A trained stroke team is available 24-7 to evaluate stroke patients within 15 minutes of arrival
- A neurosurgeon is available 24-7
- Stroke diagnostic capabilities, including laboratory testing and brain imaging, are available 24-7 to ensure evaluations in less than 45 minutes
- Written protocols and procedures are in place for treatment of stroke patients
- Inpatients who suffer a stroke receive the same opportunities for treatment and management
- Coordinated stroke care is provided beyond the emergency physician's evaluation
- Stroke staff receives at least eight hours of continuing education each year
- Patient outcomes are tracked; and there are ongoing, continuous, quality-improvement efforts under way
- An educational program is conducted each year to educate the community about stroke prevention, diagnosis and treatments
Since Swedish's original certification in 2004, the medical center has added a new component to its Stroke Program: the Brain Attack Response Team, or BART, which dispatches a team of stroke experts to the bedside of any hospitalized patient who is exhibiting signs of a new stroke.
In addition, in 2005, JCAHO awarded the Swedish Stroke Program the Codman Award for disease-specific management, in recognition of its effective use of performance measures and processes to improve the quality of stroke care. Also in 2005, the American Stroke Association awarded the Swedish Stroke Program its Get with the Guidelines Annual Performance Achievement Award for demonstrating at least 85-percent compliance in core stroke-care measures for a full year.
Stroke is a type of vascular disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel carrying oxygen to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. Some of the primary risk factors for stroke are high blood pressure, lack of exercise, obesity, use of tobacco and a high fat/low fiber diet. People in higher-risk categories include older adults, those with a family history of stroke, African-Americans and people with diabetes.
According to the American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 3 killer of Americans and the No. 1 cause of disability. Each year, about 700,000 Americans suffer a new or recurrent stroke, which means a stroke occurs about every 45 seconds. And annually, more than 157,000 people die of the condition, which is about one of every 15 deaths.