Penn Highlands DuBois and PH Elk Earn National Recognition for Efforts to Improve Stroke Treatment

The American Heart Association presents Get With The Guidelines-Stroke GoldPlus award for commitment to prioritizing quality care for stroke patients

(DuBois, PA – September 14, 2021)— Penn Highlands DuBois and PH Elk have received the American Heart Association’s GoldPlus Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Quality Achievement Award for their commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines.

Stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the U.S. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year. Early stroke detection and treatment are key to improving survival, minimizing disability and speeding recovery times. “Prevention is key,” states Jolene A. Barbazzeni, BSN, RN, SCRN, PHRN Penn Highlands Stroke Coordinator/Neuroscience Department. “At Penn Highlands, we have a significant focus on identifying risk factors that will help prevent someone from having a stroke including helping patients identify their risk and learn about medical management, as well as lifestyle changes that will decrease their risk of stroke.”

Get With The Guidelines-Stroke was developed to assist healthcare professionals to provide the most up-to-date, research-based guidelines for treating stroke patients.

“Penn Highlands DuBois and PH Elk are honored to be recognized by the American Heart Association for our dedication to helping our patients have the best possible chance of survival when experiencing a stroke,” said Barbazzeni. “Get With The Guidelines-Stroke makes it easier for our teams to put proven knowledge and guidelines to work on a daily basis to improve outcomes for stroke patients. The Gold Plus award is a symbol of quality that reflects Penn Highlands Healthcare’s transformation journey to become a high reliability organization, providing safe and quality patient care.”

Each year program participants apply for the award recognition by demonstrating how their organization has committed to providing quality care for stroke patients. In addition to following treatment guidelines, participants also provide education to patients to help them manage their health and rehabilitation once at home.

“We are pleased to recognize Penn Highlands DuBois and PH Elk for their commitment to stroke care,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., national chairperson of the Quality Oversight Committee and Executive Vice Chair of Neurology, Director of Acute Stroke Services, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. “Research has shown that hospitals adhering to clinical measures through the Get With The Guidelines quality improvement initiative can often see fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates.”

Penn Highlands DuBois also received the Association’s Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll award and PH Elk received the Associations’ Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll Elite award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with a clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator (tPA).

Additionally, both facilities received the Association’s Target: Type 2 Honor Roll award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet quality measures developed with more than 90% of compliance for 12 consecutive months for the “Overall Diabetes Cardiovascular Initiative Composite Score.”

Penn Highlands DuBois also met specific scientific guidelines as a Primary Stroke Center and PH Elk, an Acute Stroke Ready Certified Center, featuring a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to the emergency department.