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Good Samaritan Hospital Recognized for Commitment to Stroke Care

September 26th, 2016

Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines–Performance Achievement Award for 2016 indicating the team’s success in meeting performance measures and dedication to providing the highest level of patient care. The award requires consistent adherence to up-to-date, evidence-based treatment guidelines that have been shown to have a tangible impact on patients’ lives.

Earlier this year, Good Samaritan received the Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold plus Quality Achievement Award from the AHA/ASA for the eighth year in a row.

The Gold Plus award recognizes commitment and success in ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment based on nationally recognized, research-based guidelines that reflect the latest scientific evidence. It is presented to hospitals that achieve an 85 percent or higher adherence to the Get With The Guidelines – Stroke indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month periods; and achieve 75 percent or higher compliance with five or eight Get With The Guidelines – Stroke Quality measures.

As a result of the latest recognition from the AHA/ASA Good Samaritan Hospital will be included in the annual US News & World Report congratulatory ad which will be available in print in US News & World Report which is available at newsstands and online at

The Stroke Team is headed by Daniel Cohen, MD, Chief of Neurology, and includes Nancy La Reddola, MSN, NE-BC and SCRN, Nursing Supervisor and Stroke Coordinator since 2007, Robin Hellreich, MSN, NE-BC, Nurse Manager for the Acute Stroke Care Unit (C Unit), Nursing and Medical Staff in the Emergency Department, MICU, and C Unit, Hospitalists and mid-level practitioners, including Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants.

“Educating the community about the signs and symptoms of stroke and the need for rapid treatment is essential. The sooner the patient arrives in the Emergency Department the sooner we can begin treatment, which leads to a better outcome for the patient,” said La Reddola.

A stroke patient loses 1.9 million neurons each minute if stroke treatment is delayed, therefore every second counts. Hospitals that follow AHA/ASA recommended guidelines not only know the importance of treating stroke patients quickly, they also follow evidence-based research that helps to determine why the stroke occurred in the first place and report these findings.

Quality measures provide hospitals with the most-up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with a goal of improving recovery and reducing disability and death through the aggressive use of medications such as clot-busting and anti-clotting drugs, blood thinners and cholesterol-reducing drugs, preventive action for deep vein thrombosis and smoking cessation counseling.

According to the AHS/ASA, stroke is the No. 5 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, someone every four minutes and nearly 800,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

According to Richard Appey, RN, BSN, MS, Stroke Coordinator in Quality Management, concurrent monitoring – seeing patients in real time - is vital to their care and outcome. “There are certain measures that must be taken on day one and day two when it is believed a person may be having a stroke. The protocols for these patients are immediate.”

La Reddola says, “Everything is time sensitive that’s why the stroke team is so important. There is a one hour window, called the ‘Golden Hour’ in which a patient must be seen and evaluated so a determination can be made as to their treatment.”

According to Hellreich, patients who are stroke victims and come in through the Emergency Department must receive a clot buster drug within the first three hours of the onset of symptoms. They then spend 24 hours in ICU before being transferred to C-Unit. “It is a coordinated effort of which we are very proud,” Hellreich says. She added that every nurse in the hospital receives two hours of training annually on stroke. Nurses on C Unit receive eight hours of education the first year and four hours each year after that.

Appey, who has been Stroke Coordinator in Quality Management for the past four years, visits each unit with a neurology patient once or twice a day to monitor their condition. His information logs include detailed patient-by-patient performance measures which are entered into a data base. He has monthly meetings with the Performance Improvement Management Group and quarterly meetings with the Stroke Committee to discuss any issues or concerns.

Prior to patients being released they must meet all measures to ascertain whether they are able to go home or require sub-acute or acute rehabilitation. “Getting them to rehab as quickly as possible provides the best possible results,” says Hellreich.

Recently, a PILOT program has begun in the ED to cut down on times from “door to needle.” Appey says patients transported to the ED by ambulance are brought directly to radiology for a CT Scan which reduces the amount of time before a determination can be made.

Paul Heidenrich, MD, MS, national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines Steering Committee and Professor of Medicine at Stanford University said the AHA/ASA recognized Good Samaritan Hospital for its commitment to stroke care. “Research has shown there are benefits to patients who are treated at hospitals that have adopted the GWTG program.”

For more information on stroke or cardiac services, call (631) 376-4444.