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The Tidelands Health Newsroom

Published on April 10, 2014

WCH earns recognition for stroke treatment care 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

When someone suffers a stroke, every minute counts. Time and the ability of health care workers to respond rapidly can mean the difference between life and death or recovery and disability. For its success in implementing specific measures to diagnose and treat stroke patients, Waccamaw Community Hospital has earned the Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Silver-Plus Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

 Get With The Guidelines Stroke helps hospital teams provide the most up-to-date, research-based information to speed recovery and reduce death and disability for stroke patients.

 Pam Maxwell, BSN, vice president of operations, WCH administrator, said WCH earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures, including aggressive use of medications and risk-reduction therapies aimed at preventing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.

 “We’re dedicated to improving the quality of stroke care, and The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines–Stroke program helps us achieve that goal,” Maxwell said. “With this award, our hospital demonstrates our commitment to ensure that our patients receive care based on internationally respected clinical guidelines.”

 Studies show that hospitals that consistently follow these measures can decrease length of stay for patients.

Maxwell said that WCH’s stroke-care team responds quickly to patients with stroke symptoms but emphasized the importance of immediate treatment.

“It is critical for anyone experiencing stroke symptoms to come to the ER immediately,” she said. “Some types of strokes can be treated with new drug therapy that can stop the damage caused by a stroke, but the clock starts ticking as soon as symptoms begin.”

Maxwell said studies show a direct link between how quickly rehabilitation begins and the reversal of damaging effects caused by stroke.

“The sooner rehabilitation can begin, the better the chances are for reversing the damaging effects of stroke. Our inpatient rehab unit at WCH is the only area hospital that provides acute inpatient rehab. Our team of therapists and nurses works closely with physicians to help our patients regain function and return to their daily activities.” 

Get WithThe Guidelines–Stroke also helps staff implement prevention measures, such as educating stroke patients to manage their risk factors, heightening their awareness of warning signs for stroke, and ensuring they take their medications properly. Hospitals can make customized patient education materials available upon discharge, based on the patients’ individual risk profiles. The materials are written in English or Spanish.  

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 4 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States.  On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

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Tidelands Health is the largest health care provider in Georgetown, Horry and Williamsburg counties. With three hospitals and more than 50 outpatient locations that stretch from Andrews to North Myrtle Beach, Tidelands Health is helping people across the Tidelands region live better lives through better health.