PINEHURST, N.C. -- Multiple hospitals within the FirstHealth of the Carolinas system received stroke care program certification from the Joint Commission, the national health care accreditation and certification organization.
FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital was recertified as a Primary Stroke Center. The Moore Regional program received its original Primary Stroke Center designation in 2009, and additional recertifications in 2011, 2015 and 2018. Both FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital – Richmond and FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital – Hoke have been certified as Acute Stroke Ready Hospitals. Additionally, FirstHealth Montgomery Memorial Hospital has been certified as an Acute Stroke Ready Hospital, making it the second critical access hospital to achieve the certification in North Carolina.
The Joint Commission recognizes programs that make exceptional efforts to foster better outcomes, and that provide quality of care to meet the unique and specialized needs of stroke patients.
Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of long-term disability. Up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable, and the likelihood of disability caused by a stroke can be reduced with quick treatment.
“When it comes to stroke treatment, every minute counts,” says Melanie Blacker, M.D., the medical director of Moore Regional’s Stroke Service. “Early diagnosis and treatment helps to prevent disability and additional complications. Our team keeps quick diagnosis a top priority and we remind our community to use BEFAST as a benchmark for seeking medical care.”
- B – Balance (loss of balance, trouble walking)
- E – Eyes (blurred vision or loss of vision)
- F – Face (facial drooping)
- A – Arms (numb or weak arms)
- S – Speech (slurred speech)
- T – Time to call 911
Each program underwent a rigorous review earlier this year, during which a team of Joint Commission reviewers evaluated compliance with related certification standards. These requirements cover three main areas: standards, clinical practice guidelines and performance measurement. Joint Commission standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, measurement experts and patients.
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.
FirstHealth neurohospitalists help manage the program and care for its patients. The team also includes stroke coordinator Barb McGrath, R.N. whose job involves educating nurses in the specifics of stroke care, as well as collecting and analyzing data with physicians and the stroke team. She says the Moore Regional stroke team has decreased the average door to CT start times by 42 percent over the past 12 months in patients that were eligible to receive IV thrombolytics.
“We congratulate FirstHealth of the Carolinas for this outstanding achievement,” says Nancy Brown, chief executive officer of the American Stroke Association. “This certification reflects its commitment to providing the highest quality of care for stroke patients.”