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CMH Earns National Award for Outstanding Stroke Care

The American Heart Association (AHA) has awarded Calvert Memorial with the prestigious Gold Plus Award for outstanding stroke treatment. The award – the highest level of achievement through the AHA’s Get with The Guidelines Program - recognizes the hospital’s use of the latest treatment techniques for stroke care.

“Calvert Memorial Hospital is proud to receive the Gold Plus Award for quality stroke treatment from such a well-respected national organization,” said CMH President and CEO Jim Xinis. “We are working hard to provide the highest standard of care to families in our community and are pleased when the excellent work of our sroke center is recognized.”

CMH was designated as a Primary Stroke Center in 2008. It means the hospital meets or exceeds the requirements set by the state for effectively treating strokes. Calvert’s multidisciplinary team, which includes EMS, physicians, nurses, radiology and laboratory technicians, rehabilitation specialists, pharmacists and case managers, is headed by board-certified neurologist Dr. Harry Kerasidis.

Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and serious, long-term disability in the US. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and someone dies of one every 4 minutes. Last year, 198 patients were treated at CMH for stroke symptoms. Of that number, 55 percent were women and almost a third were between the ages of 45 and 65. Statistics show that 7 in 10 had high blood pressure, one-fourth had diabetes and 11 percent smoked.

Hospitals receiving the GWTG Gold Plus Performance Award have achieved 85 percent or better in seven areas of stroke management for 24 months; in addition to surpassing targets in five of nine quality measures. These measures include the aggressive use of medications such as clot-busting drugs, like tPA, which can reduce the amount of damage to brain tissue; as well as antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, deep-vein prophylaxis and cholesterol-reducing drugs. Smoking cessation is also emphasized. Implementation of these evidence-based interventions is key because they are proven to reduce complications after a stroke, as well as the chances of a subsequent stroke or heart attack.

“First and foremost, I think the award shows the system-wide dedication at CMH to best stroke outcomes,” said Kerasidis. “This level of care requires an amazing collaboration and we have a great team dedicated to providing the best stroke care possible.”

The AHA program encourages healthcare providers to capitalize on teachable moments soon after a patient has a stroke. 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. To learn more about stroke warning signs, follow this link.

Pictured below (left to right): Members of Calvert Memorial Hospital’s stroke team are Kathy Moore, director of rehabilitation services; Dr. Harry Kerasidis, director of the stroke center; Darla Hardy, director of Level 2; Dr. John Schnabel, director of emergency medical services; Stephanie Cleaveland, director of the emergency department, Elena Hutchinson, occupational therapist and stroke support group facilitator; Karen Seekford, clinical nurse educator and Angela Clubb, PI stroke program coordinator.

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