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Stroke program receives national quality award and recertification

Baptist Health Paducah has just received back-to-back national honors for its stroke program -- the Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association and the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center for the second consecutive cycle.

Baptist Health Paducah, the only certified primary stroke center in Kentucky west of Owensboro, received the Get With the Guidelines-Stroke silver award after meeting national care standards in at least 85 percent of patients during the last year, as outlined by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

“This is an amazing achievement for a young stroke center to achieve in such a short time,” said neurologist Joseph Ashburn, M.D., director of Baptist Health Paducah’s stroke center. “We have begun multi-disciplinary rounds where physical, occupational and speech therapists, nurses and physicians get together daily to discuss patient care at all levels. We are always moving forward to take it to the next level.”

Baptist Health Paducah received the Bronze Award last year and expects to achieve the Gold recognition next year, Dr. Ashburn said.

 In achieving Joint Commission advanced certification, Baptist Health Paducah has demonstrated its commitment to the highest level of care for its stroke patients, said Jean E. Range, executive director, Disease-Specific Care Certification, Joint Commission. “Certification is a voluntary process, and The Joint Commission commends Baptist Health Paducah for successfully undertaking this challenge to elevate its standard of care and instill confidence in the community it serves.”

Larry Barton, Baptist Health Paducah president and CEO, said the distinctions are important because of what they mean for people suffering from stroke. “These achievements recognize Baptist Health Paducah’s commitment to providing outstanding stroke care to our patients and our community.”

Stroke is one of the nation’s leading causes of death and serious, long-term disability. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and someone dies of a stroke every 4 minutes.

Mary Legge, R.N., Baptist Health Paducah’s stroke team leader, said research has shown stroke patients treated on stroke units do better than those treated on a normal medical unit.

“Patients are more likely to survive the stroke, have fewer disabilities and be able to live independently,” Legge said. “Our stroke unit nurses and rehabilitation staff receive extensive training and ongoing education to meet the comprehensive needs of each patient.”

The Baptist Health Paducah Stroke Support Group meets from 3 to 4:30 p.m. the first Monday of each month in the Baptist Heart Center conference room. The group provides support for stroke survivors and their caregivers, family and friends. Phone (270) 415-7697 to register.

For anyone with questions on stroke or heart attack symptoms, Baptist Health Paducah nurses answer the free 24-hour Chest Pain & Stroke Hotline at 1-800-575-1911.