Tonawanda News

August 8, 2011

Kenmore Mercy stroke care accredited

Staff Reports
The Tonawanda News

— — Kenmore Mercy hospital is now the first member of the Catholic Health System to be recognized for its advanced primary stroke center, hospital officials said Monday.

The hospital was awarded a certification from the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, recognizing a “cohesive approach to fostering better outcomes for stroke patients,” according to hospital spokeswoman Dawn Cwierley.

The commission conducted an on-site review of the hospital’s stroke care program in July. Auditors sought compliance with standards of care specific to the needs of patients and families, including infection prevention and control, process improvement, leadership and medication management.

“Certification as an advanced primary stroke center from the Joint Commission informs our community that we have staff with the clinical expertise, technology and quality of service to effectively diagnose and treat stroke patients 24/7,” hospital President and CEO James Millard said.

Since 2006 Kenmore Mercy has met state guidelines for stroke care, which include various criteria taking into account the critical seconds crucial to stoke care.

Requirements for accreditation, according to a statement released Monday by the hospital, include a patients’ ability to see a physician within 15 minutes of arrival in the emergency department. It is also required that patients receive a CT scan within 25 minutes; can have results interpreted in 45 minutes, and receive lab results in 45 minutes. Also as a requirement for accreditation, the hospital must consistently provide “clot busting” drugs within 60 minutes of arrival or within 3 hours of the onset of symptoms.

“Kenmore Mercy’s certification reinforces Catholic Health’s efforts to improve access to high quality stroke services for residents throughout Erie County and beyond,” said Holly Bowser, vice president of neuroscience and vascular service lines for Catholic Health.

Sisters of Charity hospital, also part of the Catholic Health system, also is pursuing certification for their stroke program by the joint commission.  

Stroke is the nation’s third leading cause of death and the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States, hospital officials say.

Each year about 700,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke, with someone suffering a stroke every 45 seconds. There are approximately 4.7 million stroke survivors alive today.

Warning signs include sudden confusion, slurred speech or difficulty understanding, sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arms or legs, especially on one side of the body; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination; and sudden severe headache without cause.