Hamilton Medical Center receives stroke care recognition 2015

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Some of HMC's stroke team members 

Stroke Team: Pictured are some of the members of Hamilton Medical Center’s Stroke Team.

DALTON, Ga. – Hamilton Medical Center (HMC) has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines –Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: Stroke Honor Roll. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment and success ensuring that stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

To receive the Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award, hospitals must achieve 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month periods and achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with five of eight Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality measures.

To qualify for the Target: Stroke Honor Roll, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke. If given intravenously in the first three hours after the start of stroke symptoms, tPA has been shown to significantly reduce the effects of stroke and lessen the chance of permanent disability. HMC earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period.

These quality measures are designed to help hospital teams provide the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients.

HMC has also met specific scientific guidelines as a Primary Stroke Center, featuring a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to the Emergency Department.

Some Hamilton Medical Center associates who are involved in taking care of patients who’ve had a stroke. 

Pictured are some Hamilton Medical Center associates who are involved in taking care of patients who’ve had a stroke. From left are Hannah Jones, RN, clinical resource nurse; Brianne Terry, DPT, CCCE, physical therapy supervisor; Brittany Pendergrass, RN; Melissa Eskew, RN; and Justin Burgett, RN, clinical resource nurse.

“We are pleased to recognize Hamilton Medical Center for their commitment to stroke care,” said Deepak L. Bhatt, M.D., M.P.H., national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines steering committee and executive director of Interventional Cardiovascular Programs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Studies have shown that hospitals that consistently follow Get With The Guidelines quality improvement measures can reduce length of stay and 30-day readmission rates and reduce disparities in care.”

For providers, Get With The Guidelines-Stroke offers quality improvement measures, discharge protocols, standing orders and other measurement tools. Providing hospitals with resources and information that make it easier to follow treatment guidelines can help save lives and ultimately reduce overall health care costs by lowering readmission rates for stroke patients.


For patients, Get With The Guidelines-Stroke uses the “teachable moment,” the time soon after a patient has had a stroke, when they learn how to manage their risk factors while still in the hospital and recognize the FAST warning signs of a stroke.

FAST - Signs of stroke.1) Look at the person's face. Ask him or her to smile. Does one  side droop? 2) Have him or her raise both arms. Does one arm drift down? 3) Can the person repeat a simple phrase without slurring? "You can't teach an old dog new tricks." 4) If you see even one of these symptoms, call 911 right away. 


According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of adult 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. Based on its stroke certification, HMC was also featured in a special advertisement in the August issue of U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Hospitals.”