McKenzie County Memorial Hospital has received a Participating Hospital Award from the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association. The Participating Hospital Award is given to hospitals that use Get With The Guidelines® - Stroke quality improvement program. Hospitals eligible to receive this award have identified a team of individuals to implement the Get with the Guidelines® program and have a system in place to diagnose and treat stroke patients. Awardees have also completed the initial training on using a web-based tool to track their quality of care for stroke patients.
Get With The Guidelines - Stroke was developed to help hospitals apply proven science-based treatment guidelines for stroke patients, including those developed by the American Stroke Association, American Heart Association, and Brain Attack Coalition. These guidelines address several issues, including preventing cardiovascular disease and stroke and allow hospitals to track their program performance and pinpoint areas for improvement.
During the 61st Legislative Assembly, Senate Bill 2004 was passed. This bill required the North Dakota Department of Health to establish a State Stroke Program and allocated increased funding for operating expenses and grants for stroke prevention beginning July 1, 2009. The appropriation to implement a State Stroke Program included the establishment of a state stroke registry powered by the American Heart Association's Get With The Guidelines- Stroke Patient Management ToolTM. Participating hospitals agree to collect data using the web-based tool and agree to allow the North Dakota Department of Health access to de-identified data to monitor statewide progress in diagnosing and treating stroke patients.
The State Stroke Program design also promotes and/or provides training for pre-hospital and hospital personnel on improving stroke care, adherence to guidelines, sharing of best practices and lessons learned. In addition, the State Stroke Program features the engagement of local communities to improve stroke outcomes. This aspect comprises the implementation of a statewide public awareness and education campaign on warning signs and symptoms and need to call 9-1-1 immediately.
Major advances have been made during the past decade in stroke prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation according to Susan Mormann, strategy specialist for the North Dakota Department of Health's Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program. Despite these improvements, significant obstacles remain in consistently translating evidence based guidelines into practice. "Through learning sessions, use of data and sharing of best practices and lessons learned, hospitals participating in the State Stroke Program are able to better utilize evidence based guidelines and identify opportunities for care processes redesign," said Mormann.
"The North Dakota Department of Health, in conjunction with the Stroke System of Care Task Force, is working towards a comprehensive and functioning system of stroke care in North Dakota," said State Health Officer Terry Dwelle, M.D., M.P.H.T.M. "Many North Dakota hospitals are already on their way to defining their role in this system of care and receiving the Participating Hospital Award demonstrates a strong commitment to quality stroke care. As the system of stroke care becomes fully operational, it is critical that every North Dakota hospital, regardless of size or location, be part of this system to ensure access to the highest possible stroke care throughout our state."
Initiated in 2009, the State Stroke Program has 33 participating hospitals within the state. The Center for Rural Health's Critical Access Hospital Quality Network works in partnership with the North Dakota Department of Health to provide ongoing support to hospitals enrolled in the State Stroke Program.
According to the North Dakota Department of Health, 7 percent of all deaths in North Dakota are caused by stroke. The American Heart Association estimates that every 40 seconds, someone in the United States is suffering from a stroke, accounting for one out of every 18 deaths in the country. Strokes can occur in any age group at any time. However, you may be able to prevent stroke by controlling your blood pressure, reducing your blood cholesterol levels, and stopping tobacco use. Reducing your risks and knowing the signs and symptoms of stroke can lessen the chance you have a stroke and improve outcomes in the event a stroke does occur. Hospitals participating in the State Stroke Program have a system in place to diagnose and treat stroke patients. The chance that you will survive and recover from a stroke is higher if you get emergency treatment right away by calling 9-1-1.