Norwalk Hospital has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get With The Guidelines - Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes Norwalk Hospital's commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of stroke care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations.

To receive the Get With The Guidelines - Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award, Norwalk Hospital achieved at least 12 consecutive months of 85 percent or higher adherence to all indicators and achieved at least 75 percent or higher compliance with six measures during that same period of time, which are reporting initiatives to measure quality of care.

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These measures include aggressive use of medications, such as tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol reducing drugs and smoking cessation, all aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.

"With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and the Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award demonstrates that our staff is committed to providing care that has been shown in the scientific literature to quickly and efficiently treat stroke patients with evidence-based protocols," said Dr. Daryl Story, neurologist, Neurology Associates of Norwalk, who directs the stroke team at Norwalk Hospital.

"Norwalk Hospital is to be commended for its commitment to implementing standards of care and protocols for treating stroke patients," said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., chairman of the Get With the Guidelines National Steering Committee and director of the TeleStroke and Acute Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "The full implementation of acute care and secondary prevention recommendations and guidelines is a critical step in saving the lives and improving outcomes of stroke patients."

Get With The Guidelines - Stroke uses the "teachable moment," the time soon after a patient has had a stroke, when they are most likely to listen to and follow their healthcare professionals' guidance. 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. Through Get With The Guidelines - Stroke, customized patient education materials are made available at the point of discharge, based on patients' individual risk profiles. The take-away materials are written in an easy-to-understand format and are available in English and Spanish. In addition, the Get With The Guidelines Patient Management Tool provides access to up-to-date cardiovascular and stroke science at the point of care.

Norwalk Hospital is continually focused on delivering quality stroke care. The number of acute ischemic stroke patients eligible for treatment is expected to grow over the next decade due to increasing stroke incidence and a large aging population, Story added.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is one of the leading causes of death and serious, long-term 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.

Norwalk Hospital is a nationally-recognized, 328-bed, community teaching hospital that serves a population of 250,000 in lower Fairfield County. The hospital is a teaching affiliate of the Yale School of Medicine. Norwalk Hospital has more than 500 physicians on its medical staff, many of whom trained at the nation's leading medical schools and hospitals, and 1,800 health professionals and support staff. The hospital's clinical services are anchored by signature services in cancer, digestive disorders, emergency medicine, heart and vascular, orthopedics/neuro/spine and women's and children's services.

Get With The Guidelines is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's hospital-based quality improvement program that empowers healthcare teams to save lives and reduce healthcare costs by helping hospitals follow evidence-based guidelines and recommendations. For more information, visit