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University Awarded Stroke Certification from the Joint Commission October 25, 2011

October 25, 2011
Media contact: Erica C. Cline


Augusta, Ga. – University Hospital has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval™ for certification as a Primary Stroke Center after undergoing an onsite evaluation on Sept. 30 and demonstrating compliance with nationally developed standards for stroke care.

“In stroke care time is brain,” said Jean E. Range, M.S., R.N., C.P.H.Q., executive director, Disease-Specific Care Certification, The Joint Commission. “By achieving certification as a Primary Stroke Center, University has proven that it has the ability to provide effective, timely care to stroke victims and can significantly improve outcomes for stroke patients.”

Each year about 795,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke, which is the nation’s third leading cause of death. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and someone dies of a stroke every 3.1 minutes. Stroke is a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States, with about 4.7 million stroke survivors alive today.

“The Stroke Team worked very hard for a long time to achieve this recognition,” said Kathy Zeiler, RN, MSN, Accreditation Coordinator for University Hospital. “The team is continuing its hard work so that the care we deliver is even stronger and better. These physicians, nurses, rehab specialists, pharmacists, case managers, performance improvement coordinators and EMS providers have a passion for what they do. We are proud that we are now an Advanced Primary Stroke Center.”

In order to be certified a Primary Stroke Center, University demonstrated that clinicians:

  • Have 24/7 readiness to care for patients with Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIA), stroke, stroke-like symptoms and cerebral hemorrhages
  • Provide care following evidence-based clinical practice guidelines
  • Use a standardized method of delivering clinical care provided by highly trained physicians and staff and an interdisciplinary team that includes a strong working relationship with Emergency Medical Services
  • Have an effective protocol in place to assess stroke patients for thrombolytic therapy and to deliver this time-sensitive therapy efficiently and safely to those who can receive it
  • Educate patients and their families about stroke prevention and actions to take if stroke-like symptoms occur
  • Regularly measure patient outcomes and satisfaction for this population and work to improve both

The Joint Commission’s Primary Stroke Center Certification is based on the recommendations for primary stroke centers published by the Brain Attack Coalition and the American Stroke Association’s statements and guidelines for stroke care. The Joint Commission launched the program – the nation’s first – in 2003.



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