Until now, heart attack and stroke patients have not been treated in the same way as traumatic injuries. It is national protocol for seriously injured patients to be transported via helicopter or ambulance to trauma centers. Heart attack and stroke patients, by contrast, often are treated at the closest hospital - regardless of that hospital’s ability to treat them.
Missouri is the one of the first states to recognize this disparity and passed legislation so that heart attack and stroke patients are transported to centers equipped to handle their complex cases. Some hospitals, for instance, do not have the ability to administer tPA medication – which has been proven to save lives if given within the four hours of stroke symptom onset.
Why Joint Commission Stroke Center Certification is Important
Certified stroke centers provide better results in the treatment of stroke when compared to hospitals that treat stroke patients in medical intensive care units, or through a “mobile in-hospital stroke team.” Studies have shown that patients treated in stroke units are more likely to be alive, independent, and living at home one year after their stroke. Stroke centers provide a group of medical professionals who specialize in stroke, work together to diagnose, treat, and provide early rehabilitation to stroke patients.
SSM DePaul Health Center is the first and only hospital in St. Louis County to achieve Joint Commission Comprehensive Stroke Center certification — the highest possible level of stroke center designation. St. Clare Health Center, St. Joseph Health Center, St. Joseph Hospital West and St. Mary’s Health Center also are recognized by the Joint Commission as Primary Stroke Centers. See our locations.
Get With the Guidelines
All SSM hospitals have achieved the American Stroke Association’s “Get With the Guidelines” status and are well equipped to administer tPA to appropriate stroke patients. Get With The Guidelines is an in-hospital program designed to improve acute stroke treatment and prevent future strokes and cardiovascular events. Get With the Guidelines focuses on quick diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients through stroke centers. It also involves care team protocols once patients are admitted to ensure that they are treated and discharged appropriately.