St. Catherine Hospital awarded Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Center

(GARDEN CITY, KAS.) The new accreditation at St. Catherine Hospital (SCH) demonstrates the facility's commitment to deliver top-notch care to stroke patients, said Chief Medical Officer Matthew Byrnes, MD.

SCH has recently earned the Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval(r) and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Heart-Check mark for Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers after a comprehensive review and on-site visit.

"A hospital must demonstrate strict adherence to guidelines and quality improvement, which includes rapid patient evaluation and treatment," Dr. Byrnes said. "The Joint Commission is the premiere accrediting agency nationwide and we have its gold seal of approval," he elaborated. "It has rigorous standards, which is why we chose this path to accreditation. We needed this program so people in western Kansas can have the same access to stroke care that is provided in large cities. Since strokes can result in permanent disabilities, patients must be treated quickly; this is absolutely vital to the community."

A patient has a very short window of 3 to 4.5 hours from the onset of stroke symptoms to receive clot-busting medication.

"This accreditation assures that we are able to rapidly and accurately assess patients," Dr. Byrnes said. "This is critical to delivering state-of-the-art stroke care and we have proven we have the dedicated team that can deliver it."

Since rapid, early stroke care clearly has the best outcomes, Dr. Byrnes noted, it is crucial for patients to seek emergency-room care immediately upon demonstrating symptoms.

These may include difficulty speaking, new numbness, facial drooping, weakness on one side of the body and a severe headache.

"If we notice some or all of these symptoms, we will call a 'stroke code' to obtain the necessary lab work and CAT scans quickly to determine the best treatment," the chief medical officer explained. "Patients with mild strokes can be admitted to the hospital and receive local care that includes physical and occupational therapies to get them back to normal activities.

"Those with larger strokes are typically transferred to a larger stroke center," he continued. "But by having this program in place to rapidly assess stroke victims, we can deliver clot-busting medication that may completely resolve the problem and avoid the significant disability that comes with untreated strokes."

Essentially, a stroke is a "brain attack." In some cases, blood flow is cut off to portions of the brain and clot-busting medicine is used. Another type of stroke causes bleeding in the brain.

The common factor is that all strokes can destroy brain tissue, which can prevent people from talking, swallowing, moving or understanding their surroundings.

Before clot-busting medicine was available, many people suffered severe, lifelong disability after a stroke; today, many people go back to a normal life. Dr. Byrnes noted that strokes can be prevented by controlling cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and getting regular exercise.

"And for patients with certain types of abnormal heart rhythms, blood thinners help with prevention," he added. "The best way to reduce risk is to regularly see your physician."

SCH participates in a multi-state stroke network dedicated to improving stroke care, Dr. Byrnes said, noting the facility's continuous quality improvement efforts to ensure success.

Scott Taylor, SCH president and chief executive officer, noted that the hospital is the first Joint Commission accredited primary stroke center between Wichita and Colorado Springs.

"This disease-specific certification attests that St. Catherine employs the latest evidenced-based protocols in stroke treatment," Taylor said. "It is a testament to the quality of care our team provides; we are proud of the staff in reaching this important goal, and they have my personal congratulations.

"When minutes count," he continued, "choosing the best care is essential. Knowing that St. Catherine has this accreditation and is the region's largest specialty medical center should instill confidence in people throughout western Kansas."

Stroke is the number four cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States, according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. 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.


About Joint Commission
Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 20,500 health care organizations and programs in the United States, including hospitals and health care organizations that provide ambulatory and office-based surgery, behavioral health, home care, laboratory and nursing home services. An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. The Joint Commission has two nonprofit affiliate organizations: The Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare aims to solve health care's most critical safety and quality problems and Joint Commission Resources (JCR) provides consulting services, educational services and publications. Joint Commission International, a division of JCR, accredits and certifies international health care organizations. Learn more about The Joint Commission.

About American Heart Association/American Stroke Association
The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association are devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke- America's No. 1 and No. 4 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based American Heart Association is the nation's oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. The American Stroke Association is a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit American Heart Associationwebsite or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The familiar Heart-Check mark now helps consumers evaluate their choices in hospital care. Each mark given to a hospital is earned by meeting specific standards for the care of patients with heart disease and/or stroke. The Heart-Check mark can only be displayed by hospitals that have achieved and defined requirements set by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. For more information on the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Hospital Accreditation Program.

About St. Catherine Hospital
As a 132 bed Joint Commission accredited regional health care center in southwest Kansas, St. Catherine Hospital is ahead of the curve in health care technology and innovations. The growing, active medical staff includes full time Hospitalists, as well as specialist services in Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Critical Care, Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Occupational and Aviation Medicine, Otolaryngology, Ophthalmology, Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, Audiology, Pathology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Nephrology, Radiology, General Surgery, and Urology. Exceptional care, extraordinary's what makes the St. Catherine Hospital difference. For more information, please visit St. Catherine Hospital website.

About Centura Health
Centura Health connects individuals, families and neighborhoods across Colorado and western Kansas with more than 6,000 physicians and 18,100 of the best hearts and minds in health care. Through our 15 hospitals, seven senior living communities, health neighborhoods, physician practices and clinics, home care and hospice services, and Flight For Life(r) Colorado, we are making the region's best health care accessible and affordable in every community we serve. We believe you can inspire the people you care about to live healthier lives by encouraging them to do the little things that can make a big difference. We're Centura Health, and we're here for your health. For information on Centura Health or any of the facilities in our network, please visit Centura Health Website.