BANGOR — Oct. 29 is World Stroke Day. According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center is pleased to announce it has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get with The Guidelines Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

EMMC earned the award, which it has done for the past nine years, by meeting specific quality measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke These measures include the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. Before discharge, patients receive education on managing their health, get a follow-up visit scheduled, as well as other care transition interventions.

“Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center is dedicated to improving the quality of care for our stroke patients by implementing the American Heart Association’s Get with The Guidelines-Stroke initiative,” said EMMC neurologist and interim medical director for Northern Light Stroke Care Roople Unia, MD. “The tools provided help us track adherence to evidence-based clinical guidelines designed to improve patient outcomes. Additionally, we are using telemedicine in partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital to improve access to stroke care for the people of Maine.”

EMMC also received the Association’s Target: Stroke Elite Honor Roll Award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat acute ischemic stroke. 

“We are pleased to recognize Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center for their commitment to stroke care,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., national chairperson of the Quality Oversight Committee and Executive Vice Chair of Neurology, Director of Acute Stroke Services, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. “Research has shown that hospitals adhering to clinical measures through the Get with The Guidelines quality improvement initiative can often see fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates.”