McLeod Health receives certification to help stroke patients

By: The Anson Record

McLeod Health recently received certification affirming that its hospitals are equipped to provide care to patients with acute stroke symptoms who seek life-saving treatment from the Emergency Department.

“In just four minutes you could: read a few pages of a book; return a phone call; listen to a favorite song… or die from a stroke. On average, every four minutes, a stroke claims a life. It is the third leading cause of death in South Carolina,”{ said Arielle Williams, communications for McLeod. “McLeod Health cares for patients with stroke symptoms and helps prevent this devastating outcome.”

The certification, granted by DNV GL Healthcare, designates McLeod Health as Acute Stroke Ready. DNV is a certification body that helps hospitals achieve excellence by improving quality and safety through hospital accreditation.

The McLeod Health system includes the first hospitals in the state of South Carolina to receive certification as Acute Stroke Ready by DNV. The hospitals who have achieved Acute Stroke Ready designation are: McLeod Health Cheraw, McLeod Health Clarendon, McLeod Health Dillon, McLeod Health Loris and McLeod Health Seacoast. As Acute Stroke Ready hospitals, McLeod teams also have the ability to administer intravenous thrombolytic therapy, or tPA, the only FDA-approved treatment for strokes caused by a blood clot interrupting blood flow to a region of the brain.

Once the tPA is administered, the patient would be transferred to a Primary Stroke Center for ongoing stroke care. Within the McLeod Health system, McLeod Regional Medical Center is certified as a Primary Stroke Center. The medical center received this designation in 2014, and recently achieved re-certification.

“This certification acknowledges to our community that we have the resources to provide the best possible stroke care,” said Dr. Timothy Hagen, Medical Director of Stroke and Neurology Services for McLeod Regional Medical Center. “A combination of the right equipment, personnel and training allows us to quickly assess and treat strokes.

“Stroke leads the cause of disability in the United States with about 800,000 Americans suffering a new or recurrent stroke each year. Additionally, one third of all patients have their first stroke prior to age 65. With these statistics, the exceptional stroke care we provide for our patients, and improving the overall care for our community, is crucial,” added Dr. Hagen.

Achieving accreditation required several months of dedicated team work. At each McLeod hospital, this work was led by a Stroke Coordinator, an expert nurse who provided leadership for the organization to assure a collaborative approach to stroke care. Today, McLeod stroke-trained teams stand ready to provide fast assessment and treatment of stroke for more positive outcomes for patients in the region.

“In my Law Enforcement training, I have learned that time is everything during a stroke situation,” said Sandy McCormick. “When you see someone showing signs of stroke, every second counts until you get them to an Emergency Department because you only have a small window of time for a chance of survival.”

The Anson Record