Awards for Stroke
Employees at Penn Highlands Elk recently participated in a stroke response refresher training. Pictured are PH Elk Emergency Department nurses Hope Klaiber, RN, and Nick Burdick, RN, along with radiologic technologists Dan Eagen and Jen Gnan. Acting as the patient is Ashlee Stefano, imaging secretary.

PH DuBois, PH Elk Receive American Heart Association Quality Achievement Awards for Stroke

Penn Highlands DuBois and Penn Highlands Elk have received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes a hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence. This year Penn Highlands DuBois has won the Gold Plus award for the fifth year in a row, while Penn Highlands Elk has won the Silver award for the first time.

The two hospitals have earned these awards by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period. These measures include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. Before discharge, patients also receive education on managing their health, get a follow-up visit scheduled, as well as other care transition interventions.

“Penn Highlands Healthcare is dedicated to improving the quality of care for our stroke patients by implementing the American Heart Association’s Get with the Guidelines Stroke initiative,” said Rose Campbell, Chief Nursing Officer at Penn Highlands Healthcare. “The tools and resources offered with this program help us track and measure our success in meeting evidenced-based clinical guidelines developed to improve patient outcomes.”

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 the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke.

“We are pleased to recognize Penn Highlands DuBois and Penn Highlands 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.”

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 in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

To learn more about stroke care and prevention at Penn Highlands Healthcare, contact stroke coordinator Jolene Barbazzeni, BSN, RN, SCRN, PHRN at [email protected].

About Get With The Guidelines®
Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that provides hospitals with tools and resources to increase adherence to the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal of saving lives and hastening recovery, Get With The Guidelines has touched the lives of more than 9 million patients since 2001. For more information, visit