University of Chicago Medicine’s Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center received the Silver Quality Achievement Award

The University of Chicago Medicine’s Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center received the Silver Quality Achievement Award from the Joint Commission in association with American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®  program.

The award recognizes UCM’s success at improving the quality of care and outcomes for stroke patients.

stroke1One of the cornerstones to UCM’s exemplary stroke care, and a key reason behind the Silver award, is the focus on education provided by the nursing staff.

To receive the Silver award, hospitals must achieve 85 percent or higher in eight performance measures for at least 12 consecutive months. To achieve gold, UCM will have to continue its excellence in stroke treatment and education for two consecutive years.

“That’s what we’re striving for, and I’m pretty sure we can achieve it,” said Cedric McKoy, MSN, ACNP, stroke center coordinator and a nurse center nurse practitioner.

These measures are designed to help hospital teams provide the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. They focus on appropriate use of guideline-based care for stroke patients, including aggressive use of medications such as clot-busting and anti-clotting drugs, blood thinners and cholesterol-reducing drugs, preventive action for deep vein thrombosis and smoking cessation counseling.

Over the course of the stroke patient’s hospital stay, UCM nursing staff must provide education, whether it’s stroke prevention information, how to recognize signs and symptoms of stroke, and how to identify risk factors. They are also focused on educating the patient’s family and friends.

“Once upon a time, we weren’t as successful in education,” said McKoy.

But over the past couple of years, UCM in general, and nurses in particular, have focused very sharply on improving UCM results.

“The nurses took it personal,” McKoy said. A number of changes happened.

UCM nursing, working with EPIC, devised a plan that included reformatting the way education was documented in the system, for example.

Units hold morning stroke reports so residents, technicians and other clinicians can share information with nursing managers about which patients will need education.

Plus, a number of other quality and safety measures were implemented to ensure all patients received education to boost results.

And the efforts paid off.  While UCM has been a Primary Stroke Center since 2007, it had only received the Bronze award before. (These awards are for Primary Stroke Centers. UCM has the superior accreditation of being an Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center).

And nurses are taking it a step further. If the patient is not cognitively well enough to understand the education, the current guidelines state that education is not necessary and can be done at another step in the rehabilitation process.

But at UCM, nurses provide the education anyway, and are documenting that they are talking about stroke risks and symptoms to family members and friends of the patient.

“It shows dedication to the stroke prevention of our patients, but it also shows that we were doing a good job of primary stroke prevention with the community,” said McKoy, adding you never know what other family members or friends may have risk factors so the education is serving a much broader audience. “The nursing staff has taken it as something that they’re very proud of that we’re going to over educate as much as we possibly can.”

Stroke patients are cared for in the 12-bed ICU unit on 8 North in the Center for Care and Discovery. Deborah Reindl, BSN, RN, is the patient care manager and oversees about 37 nurses.

Carol Hardeman-Miller, MSN, RN, is the patient care manager on the 28-bed patient unit in 8 East at CCD. She has 38 nurses.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.



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