On October 27, the UCLA Comprehensive Stroke Center at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center announced that it had received the Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold-Plus Quality Achievement Award for implementing explicit quality improvement measures outlined by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association for the treatment of stroke patients.
The Get With The Guidelines Stroke helps healthcare workers provide the most current, research-based guidelines with the objective of promoting recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke victims. UCLA received the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a specific level for a designated period. These measures include aggressive use of medications and risk-reduction treatments focused on reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.
The UCLA center noted that it also received the association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll for meeting stroke quality measures that reduce the time between hospital arrival and treatment with the clot-buster tPA, which is the only drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat ischemic stroke. People who suffer a stroke who receive the drug within three hours of the onset of symptoms may recover more promptly and are less likely to suffer severe disability.
“At the UCLA Comprehensive Stroke Center, we are dedicated to improving the quality of stroke care, and The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines–Stroke helps us achieve that goal,” explained Dr. Jeffrey Saver, director of the UCLA Stroke Center and professor of neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He added, “With this award, our hospital demonstrates our commitment to ensure that our patients receive care based on internationally-respected clinical guidelines.”
“We are pleased to recognize UCLA for their commitment and dedication to stroke care,” noted Dr. Deepak L. Bhatt, national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines steering committee, executive director of Interventional Cardiovascular Programs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. He added, “Studies have shown that hospitals that consistently follow Get With The Guidelines quality improvement measures can reduce patients’ length of stays and 30-day readmission rates and reduce disparity gaps in care.”
The UCLA center notes that the Get With The Guidelines–Stroke also helps UCLA’s staff implement prevention measures; these measures include educating stroke patients to manage their risk factors, to be aware of warning signs for stroke, and ensuring they take their medications properly. Hospitals can make customized patient education materials available upon discharge, based on the patients’ individual risk profiles. The materials are written in an easy-to-understand format in either English or Spanish.
According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the number four cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the US. On average: one American suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 individuals suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.
The UCLA Comprehensive Stroke Center notes that it is a leading global center for the treatment of cerebral vascular disease’ it treats both simple and complex vascular disorders by incorporating recent developments in emergency medicine, stroke neurology, microneurosurgery, interventional neuroradiology, stereotactic radiology, neurointensive care, neuroanesthesiology and rehabilitation neurology. The program is unique in its ability to incorporate clinical and research activities across multiple medical disciplines and departments. It is designated as a certified Primary Stroke Center by the national Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.