Joint Commission Awards Advanced Certification to South Nassau Communities Hospital's Stroke Center

The certification confirms that South Nassau is making exceptional efforts to foster better outcomes for stroke care.

Oceanside, NY, March 23, 2013 --( South Nassau Communities Hospital has been awarded The Joint Commission Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers. The certification confirms that South Nassau is making “exceptional efforts to foster better outcomes for stroke care.”

“This signifies to the communities we serve that the quality care we provide is effectively managed to meet the unique and specialized needs of stroke patients,” said Richard Murphy, president and CEO at South Nassau.

Joint Commission accreditation and certification is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality that reflects a hospital’s commitment to fulfilling demanding performance standards. Joint Commission Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Center is available only to stroke programs in Joint Commission-accredited acute care hospitals. The certification was developed in collaboration with the American Stroke Association (ASA) and is based on the Brain Attack Coalition's "Recommendations for the Establishment of Primary Stroke Centers."

To earn the certification, South Nassau underwent a thorough and rigorous on-site review by surveyors with expertise in stroke care. The certification is based on successful demonstrated compliance in stroke care standards, clinical practice guidelines and performance measurement. At the end of the first year of the two-year certification, the organization is required to participate in a conference call to attest to its continued compliance with the standards and to review performance improvement activities. Certified primary stroke centers must collect and report on eight core stroke measures.

South Nassau is in the vanguard of hospital stroke care. It is a recipient of the Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award and is on the ASA’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll for improving stroke care. To qualify for the honor roll, a minimum of 50 percent of the hospital’s eligible ischemic stroke patients must have received tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) within 60 minutes of arriving at the hospital (known as ‘door-to-needle’

A thrombolytic, or clot-busting agent, tPA is the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the urgent treatment of ischemic stroke. If given intravenously in the first few hours after the start of stroke symptoms, tPA has been shown to significantly reverse the effects of stroke and reduce permanent disability (unfortunately, tPA therapy is not an option for patients who are having a hemorrhagic stroke, which is when a blood vessel in the brain leaks or bursts, or have one or more of the following conditions: bleeding ulcer, blood clotting problems, brain cancer, extremely high blood pressure, prior bleeding problems or are on certain blood-thinning medications).

South Nassau’s Emergency Services Department is designated a regional Stroke Center by the New York State Department of Health. Including highly skilled, board-certified physicians with expertise in treating stroke, the department provides:
• Rapid assessment of patients with stroke symptoms
• On-site new generation CT scanner that minimizes exposure to radiation
• Prompt treatment using advanced therapies and procedures
• Comprehensive neurological and neurosurgical care throughout hospitalization
• Nurses with special training in stroke care
• Stroke support group
• Community education

As southern Nassau’s only Trauma Center, the department has over 35 large independent treatment bays and specialty areas including Pediatrics and Behavioral Health as well as its own dedicated Digital Radiology suite for rapid access for testing and results.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 45 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every three minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

All of the major symptoms of stroke appear suddenly, and without warning and they are often not painful. The most common symptoms of stroke can be remembered by the acronym FAST:
F = Face: Is one side of the face drooping down?
A = Arm: Can the person raise both arms, or is one arm weak?
S = Speech: Is speech slurred or confusing?
T = Time: Time is critical!! Call 9-1-1 immediately!

Other, less common symptoms of stroke are sudden trouble seeing, sudden dizziness, and generalized weakness. If you or someone you are with is experiencing some or any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.
South Nassau Communities Hospital
Damian J. Becker