Sarah Uffindell, M.D.
PINEHURST – The Joint Commission, the national health care accreditation and certification organization, has certified the stroke care program at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital as a Primary Stroke Center.
This certification recognizes programs that make exceptional efforts to provide better outcomes for stroke care and that have services with the critical elements to achieve long-term success in improving patient outcomes.
Moore Regional’s stroke care program averages between 30 and 60 patients each month.
According to The Joint Commission, stroke center-designated programs must demonstrate conformity with clinical practice that is evidence (or research) based and includes requirements that are specific to stroke care. Certified stroke performance requirements, which were developed in collaboration with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and a group of national stroke experts, focus on diagnostic testing capability, neurosurgical services and clinical performance measures.
“Patients at a certified stroke center actually do better, recover more completely and end up going home more frequently than patients treated at a hospital without this training and expertise,” says Sarah Uffindell, M.D., a neurohospitalist who is medical director of Moore Regional’s Stroke Service.
According to Dr. Uffindell, the lengthy stroke center certification process involves specialized training of personnel from numerous areas in the health care continuum of care – from EMS to discharge planning.
“We all have to work together in a streamlined fashion, using very particular protocols,” she says. “A stroke service is a very time-sensitive program in the initial few hours, but there are many requirements for the patient’s entire stay.”
In addition to EMS and discharge planning, areas that are typically involved in stroke care include the emergency department; lab; radiology; neurology; hospitalist program; nursing; speech, occupational and physical therapy; and home care.
Moore Regional’s neurohospitalists (Steven Lewis, M.D.; Melanie Blacker, M.D.; and Dr. Uffindell) help manage the program and care for its patients. Neurohospitalists are hospital-based physicians who specialize in the care of patients with neurological conditions.
The team also includes stroke coordinator Kymberly Lariviere, R.N., whose job involves educating nurses in the specifics of stroke care as well as collecting data and analyzing it with the physicians.
According to FirstHealth Chief Medical Officer John F. Krahnert Jr., M.D., The Joint Commission certification acknowledges the quality and efficiency of Moore Regional’s stroke care program.
“Time and again, our physicians, nurses, therapists and others have demonstrated their dedication to this particular patient population, one that requires very specific, specialized and compassionate care,” he says. “The Joint Commission certification upholds what we have long known to be the case.”