News & Events

Backus Stroke Center Recognized by American Heart Association

November 28, 2011

NORWICH – The William W. Backus Hospital Stroke Center has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®–Stroke Silver Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes Backus’ commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of stroke care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations.

“This recognition is significant because in a relatively short period of time, it shows that Backus Hospital has been able to incorporate national guidelines for stroke care across the continuum,” said Anthony Alessi, MD, neurologist and Medical Director of the Backus Stroke Center. “There are so many facets of care involved in this recognition, it’s a huge accomplishment. All of this equates to a better quality of care for patients with stroke.”

To receive the Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Silver Quality Achievement Award, Backus consistently complied for at least one year with the requirements in the Get With The Guidelines–Stroke program. These include aggressive use of medications like tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol reducing drugs, and smoking cessation. This twelve-month evaluation period is the second in an ongoing self-evaluation by the hospital to continually reach the 85 percent compliance level needed to sustain this award.

“The American Stroke Association commends Backus Hospital for its success in implementing standards of care and protocols,” said Lee H. Schwamm, MD, Chair of the Get With The Guidelines National Steering Committee and Director of the TeleStroke and Acute Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “The full implementation of acute care and secondary prevention recommendations and guidelines is a critical step in saving the lives and

improving outcomes of stroke patients.”

“By not only putting into a place a Primary Stroke Center, but continuing the program at the high level reflected in this national award, Backus Hospital provides the community with a level of expertise that saves lives and improves the quality of life for stroke survivors and their families” said Cindy Arpin, RN, BSN, Stroke Project Coordinator. “Patients treated in designated stroke units such as Backus’ are more likely to be survive, and be independent and living at home within one year of their stroke.”

Karen Butterworth, RN, Backus Nurse Director added, “The clinical staff and multidisciplinary team of the stroke center work diligently to provide quality patient care. It is a great honor to be recognized for our partnership with stroke patients and their families. We take great pride in our ability to care for this special population.”

Get With The Guidelines–Stroke uses the “teachable moment,” the time soon after a patient has had a stroke, when they are most likely to listen to and follow their healthcare professionals’ guidance. Studies demonstrate that patients who are taught how to manage their risk factors while still in the hospital reduce their risk of a second heart attack or stroke. Through Get With The Guidelines–Stroke, customized patient education materials are made available at the point of discharge, based on patients’ individual risk profiles. The take-away materials are written in an easy-to-understand format and are available in English and Spanish. In addition, the Get With The Guidelines Patient Management Tool provides access to up-to-date cardiovascular and stroke science at the point of care.