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DHMC's Stroke Program Receives Multiple Recognitions

DHMC's Stroke Program Receives Multiple Recognitions

Pictured from left: Diana Rojas-Soto, MD; Shannon L. Shannon, MSN, RN; Wanda J. Handel, MSN, RN, ACCNS-AG, CNRN; Shawna Malynowski, MBA, BSN, RN; Timothy G. Lukovits, MD; Jillian C. Belmont, DNP, FNP-BC; and Jason Johns, PA.

The Joint Commission, an independent, not-for-profit organization that accredits and certifies nearly 21,000 health care organizations and programs nationwide, has certified the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center’s (DHMC) Stroke Program. The certification was announced on June 20, and reflects DHMC’s commitment to first-rate stroke care in northern New England, says Timothy G. Lukovits, MD, medical director of Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Cerebrovascular Disease and Stroke Program and an associate professor of Neurology at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.

“We were initially uncertain about going through the certification process,” says Lukovits, “but then we learned that preparing for it was an excellent way for our team to look at what we’re doing from all angles and tighten up our program, our protocols and policies.”

The DHMC stroke team was also recently awarded the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Silver Quality Achievement Award. This award honors hospitals that work to improve stroke care by “promoting consistent adherence to the latest scientific treatment guidelines,” according to the organization’s website.

Additionally, the DHMC Stroke Program was named to the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll, which “recognizes high performance on thrombolytic therapy for ischemic stroke patients - a remarkable achievement.”

“We’ve been very focused on how we conduct stroke alerts, which are often how we first encounter a new stroke patient,” says Lukovits. “Decreasing the time to treatment and providing all the evidenced-based treatments are necessary if we are going to make a difference and these awards are a nice testament of this effort.”

DHMC Stroke Program Coordinator Shawna Malynowski, MBA, BSN, RN, adds, “Being awarded the AHA awards makes me feel a sense of accomplishment. My job is dedicated to building the best stroke program possible, and it really feels great to be recognized for all the hard work our team has done.”

To receive the Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Silver Quality Achievement Award, DHMC demonstrated 85 percent or higher compliance with the Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke key measures for 12 consecutive months from January through December 2016. These include appropriate use of medications like tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol-reducing drugs and smoking cessation.

“We want to thank everyone that has helped us along the way, and we look forward to the continued work towards becoming a Comprehensive Stroke Center,” says Malynowski.