Dixie Regional Medical Center has earned gold plus status for stroke and heart failure care in implementing the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association “Get With The Guidelines”SM programs.
“We originally certified in the stroke category,” said Dr. Brett Christiansen, MD, medical director for the hospital’s stroke program. “But as we looked at the other categories we realized we could also earn achievements for heart failure care.”
“These guidelines are based on randomized, large multi-center trials, which have documented measurable reductions in cardiovascular death and heart attack,” said Dr. Lynn Nimer, MD, cardiologist at Dixie Regional. “We are delighted to be recognized for our commitment to adhering to the guidelines, but more importantly, we know the benefits members of our community will derive.”
“This distinction shows that Dixie Regional has provided excellent stroke and cardiac response across the board over a prolonged period of time,” said Dr. Christiansen. “Our patients can be confident they will get consistently excellent care.”
Get With The Guidelines helps ensure that patients treated and discharged receive quality care in accordance with guidelines that will reduce the risk of secondary events. It takes advantage of the “teachable moment,” the time soon after a heart attack or stroke, when patients are most likely to listen to their healthcare professionals’ treatment recommendations. 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.
This accomplishment also signifies that Dixie Regional has reached an aggressive goal of treating heart failure patients with at least 85 percent compliance to core standard levels of care outlined by the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology secondary prevention guidelines and recommendations.
Get With The Guidelines calls for patients to be started on aggressive risk-reduction therapies such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, aspirin, diuretics and anticoagulants in the hospital, or in the case of stroke, they may receive tPA, antithrombolytics and DVT prophylaxis. Patients also receive alcohol/drug use and thyroid management counseling as well as referrals for cardiac rehabilitation before being discharged.
“The proactive care and education stressed in the Get With The Guidelines program requires a high level of synergy between physicians, nurses, staff, and administration,” said Terri Kane, CEO/Administrator at Dixie Regional. “Our hospital has been unusually successful in stroke and cardiac care because we have everybody — including the patient — working together on the same team. By following the guidelines, we are able to prevent or minimize the effects of stroke and heart failure. It means our patients are healthier and we are able to stretch the effectiveness of the healthcare dollar.”