CRMC gets stroke certification

Dr. Mark Tedford and nurse Kellie King work with Tyree Daniel, 71, who’s recovering from a stroke at Cookeville Regional Medical Center. Cookeville Regional Medical Center has received awards for its care of stroke patients.

Cookeville Regional Medical Center has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Heart Check mark for Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers. The Gold Seal of Approval and Heart-Check mark represent symbols of quality from their respective organizations.

CRMC Neurohospitalist Dr. Mark Tedford said it’s taken about two years of work to redesign care systems to get better and faster and improve outcomes to achieve the certification.

"This is validation of a whole lot of work, and gives us the confidence — while we’re treating patients — to know that we’re doing it at a certain level of skillfulness and proficiency, and know we’re doing this well," Tedford said.

CRMC’s Senior Vice President of Quality Buffy Key said the stroke certification is something the whole region has wanted for some time.

"We have a lot of stroke patients come to our facility that we’ve been able to treat somewhat and transfer for a higher level," Key said. "Our goal has been to do better tomorrow than we did today."

Stroke Program Coordinator Susan Ashburn said the program is moving in the right direction.

"Our common goal is to work toward more positive outcomes," she said.

That common goal hits literally every department in the hospital, Key said. Lab technicians, radiology, therapy services and providers have all made a large effort towards achieving the stroke certification, she said.

"We’ve learned how many hands are involved, from (911) dispatchers and EMS crews in all the counties that bring patients to us, the triage nurses, the physicians in the emergency department, the therapists, case managers," Tedford said. "I knew it was complicated, but having to sit in a room with 30 to 40 people once a month and figure out how all the pieces were going to fit together just reinforced to me how big an effort this is across so many service lines in the hospital."

Stroke treatment really begins at the onset of symptoms. Signs of a stroke include weakness or numbness on one side of the body, sudden onset of loss of vision on one side, trouble with language, especially slurred speech, sudden onset of dizziness or vertigo, especially if it comes with one of the other symptoms.

"It’s important to call 911 and not try to go see your physician," said Amie Burton, stroke program data abstractor.

The procedure begins when someone calls 911 to report a stroke, Ashburn said.

The protocol is called Code Stroke, Key said.

“We are pleased to receive this two-year certification from The Joint Commission and American Heart Association/American Stroke Association,” said Paul Korth, CEO at Cookeville Regional. “The teamwork it takes to receive this type of designation is commendable and I want to thank all the staff, physicians and leadership for their hard work to make us a Primary Stroke Center. This certification provides us with the opportunity to highlight exceptional stroke care to our community as well as to continue striving to advance our care even further.”

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