Far Rockaways hospital recognized for exceptional stroke and heart failure care

St. John's Episcopal Hospital
Photo courtesy of SJEH

In August, the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association recognized St. John’s Episcopal Hospital for its outstanding care.

The Far Rockaway Hospital received the organization’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Achievement Award and the Heart Failure Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award. According to SJEH Vice President and Chief Quality Officer Delburt Joiner, it is the third year the organization recognized the hospital for stroke diagnosis and treatment and the first year for heart failure management.

AHA and ASA evaluates hospitals on the proper use of medications and ensure that other stroke and heart failure treatments align with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines. The organization also ensures hospitals educate patients on managing their health and schedule follow-up visits prior to discharging them.

“St. John’s Episcopal Hospital is extremely dedicated to improving the quality of care for our patients with heart failure and stroke,” said St. John’s CEO, Gerard Walsh. “Implementing the American Stroke Association and American Heart Association’s Get with the Guidelines initiatives provides the tools and resources we need to track and measure our success in meeting the evidence-based clinical guidelines developed to optimize patient outcomes.”

The AHA and AHA lists stroke as the fifth leading cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and almost 795,000 have new or recurrent strokes according to the organization’s data.

Joiner said that improving SJEH stroke care involved collaborating with EMS to expedite treatment for stroke victims. The process involves administering an emergency CT scan to find out what type of stroke a person is experiencing. From there, hospital personnel can give the patient thrombolytics or clot-busting drugs within 60 minutes of their arrival. The process also involves providing evidence-based medication, smoking cessation education, aphasia screenings and using the National Institue of Health’s Stroke Scale Assessment.

SJEH has provided thrombolytics within 60 minutes of the patient’s arrival in 95 to 100 percent of cases over the last three years. The Stroke Gold Plus Achievement’s standards require that the time-sensitive stroke treatment be administered in a timely fashion only 75 percent of the time.

More than 6.5 million Americans live with heart disease, which is one of the leading causes of premature death in the Rockaways. SJEH implemented a Heart Failure Task Force to ensure that heart failure patients get key assessments and treatments documented by care providers. According to SJEH, 90 percent of its heart failure patients get this care within the first day of admission.

Treatment involves that those at risk for blood clots receive anti-coagulants, vaccinations for pneumonia and other illnesses, smoking cessation counseling, and 60 minutes of heart failure education, in addition to advanced care classes if needed. The task force allows the patient care to remain consistent amongst residents, attending physicians and nurses while lowering the length of stay, which decreases risk of infection and other complications.

“Attaining the Gold-Plus award for the third consecutive year illustrates the tireless efforts and commitment of St. John’s team members to successfully integrate the Get With the Guidelines criteria and metrics for heart failure and stroke care into our clinical practice to achieve the best possible outcomes for our patients,” said Joiner.

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