Hospitals of Community Healthcare System earn Gold Plus Designation from Get with the Guidelines® Stroke Quality Achievement Awards

Hospitals of Community Healthcare System earn Gold Plus Designation from Get with the Guidelines® Stroke Quality Achievement Awards

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) has presented the hospitals of Community Healthcare System with Get With The Guidelines® - Stroke Quality Achievement Awards. Community Hospital, St. Catherine Hospital and St. Mary Medical Center have achieved Gold Plus status. These achievements represent quality care measures met for at least 24 consecutive months or more.

Community Healthcare System hospitals also received several Target: Stroke℠ honor roll distinctions: Target: Stroke Elite; Target: Stroke Advanced Therapy; and Target: Type 2 Diabetes. These awards demonstrate complex, timely and patient-centered care.

“Time is brain. When a stroke occurs, millions of brain cells die every minute, and literally, every minute counts,” said Neuroendovascular Neurologist Aamir Badruddin, medical director of the comprehensive stroke program at Community Hospital. “Our Community Healthcare System team of stroke experts is here to ensure advanced care in the utmost timely manner.”

The Get With The Guidelines program is 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. The quality measures focus on appropriate use of guideline-based care for stroke patients, including aggressive use of medications such as clot-busting and anti-clotting drugs; blood thinners; cholesterol-reducing drugs; preventive action for deep vein thrombosis; and smoking cessation counseling.

Target Stroke Honor Roll levels acknowledge quality care in reference to door-to-needle times. Over the past two years at least 85 percent of Community Hospital, St. Catherine Hospital and St. Mary Medical Center’s eligible ischemic stroke patients have received tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, within 60 minutes of arriving at the hospital (known as “door-to-needle” time). 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 three hours after the start of stroke symptoms, tPA has been shown to significantly reverse the effects of stroke and reduce permanent disability. 

“Community Healthcare System’s stroke centers provide treatment with alteplase, the clot-busting drug for stroke, for all eligible patients,” said Jill Conner, MSN, APRN, administrative director of Neuroscience, Cerebrovascular Services and Structural Heart. “By using a standardized evidence-based protocol no matter if the patient is brought to our Comprehensive Stroke Center or one of our Primary Stroke Centers, we are able to deliver life-saving care in a timely fashion.”

Stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States, according to the AHA/ASA. About 85 percent of all strokes are caused by an obstruction within a vessel supplying blood to the brain. A loss of oxygen and nutrients causes brain cells to die. Physical disabilities as well as difficulty with thinking and speaking may result from damage to the brain. Research shows that timely intervention to remove the blockage is the most effective treatment.

Get With The Guidelines - Stroke uses the “teachable moment,” the time soon after a patient has had a stroke, when they are most likely to listen to and follow their healthcare professionals’ guidance. Studies demonstrate that patients who are taught how to manage their risk factors while still in the hospital reduce their risk of a second stroke.

“As a system, we are united in the battle against stroke,” Conner said. “Working with our EMS providers and our healthcare colleagues across Northwest Indiana, we are able to significantly improve the outcomes of patients who have had an acute ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke.”

For more information about stroke care at the hospitals of Community Healthcare System, visit