FHN Memorial Stroke Program Coordinator Saves Time to Save Lives
Under the direction of Tracy Love, RN, FHN Memorial Hospital’s stroke program recently received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award.
For stroke patients, getting effective treatment is often a race against the clock. This is one of the challenges that Tracy Love, RN, faces daily in her role as Stroke Program Coordinator at FHN Memorial Hospital (Freeport, IL).
Under her direction, FHN Memorial Hospital’s program recently received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The distinction is given to hospitals that achieve 85 percent or higher adherence to all achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month periods, and achieve 75 percent or higher compliance with five of eight quality measures.
It’s an accomplishment that has been years in the making for the FHN Stroke Program.
“We started our stroke program in 2010, after Illinois first enacted a law that helped to identify those hospitals capable of providing stroke care. Our state was one of the first to really take a close look at how systems of care - both pre-hospital and in hospital - contribute to stroke outcomes,” she says.
“Since 2015, Freeport has been a designated Acute Stroke Ready Hospital by the Illinois Department of Public Health. By working together with our radiology department, laboratory, rehab clinicians, and a multidisciplinary stroke team - as well as having all of our care measures and orders in place in our EHR - we’ve been able to improve our stroke care and reduce the amount of time it takes us to administer treatment.”
Tracy has worked with stroke patients for a major part of her 23 years as an RN. Today, she balances her stroke program leadership with multidisciplinary teamwork, updating policies and procedures, assisting at the patient bedside, and also educating the community.
“Most patients don’t realize that there is a very narrow window of time - about three to four hours - to get stroke treatment and avoid long-lasting damage,” she says.
“People are often afraid of the unknown. But by doing community outreach, we are helping more families and patients to recognize the symptoms of stroke and get prompt treatment, or even prevent strokes from happening in the first place.”
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