Monongahela Valley Hospital Awarded Certification for Primary Stroke Centers

Monongahela Valley Hospital (MVH) was recently recognized with Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission, in conjunction with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Achievement of Primary Stroke Center demonstrates that MVH’s stroke program meets critical elements of performance to achieve long-term success in improving outcomes for stroke patients.

Stroke is the leading cause of long term disability and is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.  The amount of time from the onset of stroke symptoms until treatment begins is critical in reducing long term disability.  For every hour a stroke is left untreated, the brain ages 3.6 years.

Members of the Monongahela Valley Hospital Stroke Team – Bottom (from left): Jill Price, ED Clinical Analyst; Lynda Nester, Assistant Vice President, Nursing; Alberta Guy, Clinical Coordinator; and Christine Snyder, Stroke Care Coordinator; Top (from left) Donna Bailey, Clinical Coordinator; Linda Zidek, Prehospital Coordinator; Ruth Sepesky,  Director of Rehab Services; Jan Forlini, Director of Imaging Services; Dr. Charles Gennaula,  Medical Director of the Stroke Program; Dr. Brenda Walther, Medical Director of the ED; and Darsie Lonce, Lab Supervisor

Monongahela Valley Hospital underwent a demanding on-site review in July. A surveyor from The Joint Commission reviewed the hospital’s compliance with the requirements for The Joint Commission’s Disease Specific Care Certification program, as well as the primary stroke center requirements, such as collecting Joint Commission core measure data and using it for performance improvement activities.

“In achieving Joint Commission advanced certification, Monongahela Valley Hospital has demonstrated its commitment to the highest level of care for its stroke patients,” says Jean Range, M.S., RN, C.P.H.Q. executive director, Disease-Specific Care Certification, The Joint Commission. “Certification is a voluntary process and Joint Commission commends Monongahela Valley Hospital for successfully undertaking this challenge to elevate its standard of care and instill confidence in the community it serves.”

“Monongahela Valley Hospital is thoroughly committed to providing our patients the highest quality stroke care centered on current scientific research to ensure continued improvement in treatment,” said Christine Snyder, RN, MSN, stroke care coordinator. “In addition to The Joint Commission accreditation, the Primary Stroke Center Certification has given us the opportunity to showcase the exceptional stroke care we provide for our patients. With the recently improved EMS guidelines, becoming certified means an increase in a patient’s chances of receiving stroke care within the preferable ‘Golden Hour,’ resulting in the likelihood of the patient being an eligible Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA) candidate. tPA may only be administered within the first three hours after the onset of stroke symptoms and can diminish the effects of an ischemic stroke or permanent disability.”

To recognize the symptoms of a stroke, one just needs to remember to act F.A.S.T. (Face, Arm, Speech, Time). Symptoms might include a Facial droop or uneven smile, Arm numbness or weakness, slurred Speech or difficulty speaking or understanding. Time is of the essence should you experience or identify any of these warning signs. Call 911 and get to the nearest certified stroke center immediately to receive care.

Ms. Snyder said, “MVH is very excited to add The Joint Commission’s Primary Stroke Certification to our certifications. The hospital has maintained Advanced Certification for Inpatient Diabetes Management for three years and, since January 2011, Total Hip and Total Knee Replacements. These certifications aid in providing the best quality of care to our patient population through evidence based protocols recommended by The Joint Commission. “

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