Shelby Baptist earns Primary Stroke Center Accreditation

ALABASTER – Shelby Baptist Medical Center announced on Thursday, Jan. 9, that it earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Primary Stroke Center Accreditation, which reflects a health care organization’s commitment to providing safe and quality patient care.

To receive the Gold Seal, health care organizations must demonstrate continuous compliance with performance standards set by The Joint Commission. Shelby Baptist underwent a rigorous onsite review during which a team of Joint Commission reviewers evaluated compliance with stroke-related standards and requirements, including program management, the delivery of clinical care and performance improvement, according to a news release from Shelby Baptist.

The Joint Commission’s standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, measurement experts and patients. They are informed by scientific literature and expert consensus to help health care organizations measure, assess and improve performance. The surveyors also conducted onsite observations and interviews.

“We are honored that our hospital has been certified by The Joint Commission as a Primary Stroke Center,” said Joseph Tubbs, MD, chairman, Department of Emergency Medicine, Shelby Baptist Medical Center. “This designation is a recognition that our hospital meets all the critical elements necessary for effectively managing the specific needs of stroke patients. It is an acknowledgement that Shelby Baptist uses the latest stroke-specific guidelines and that we are providing exceptional care so that our patients have the best possible outcomes.”

Shelby Baptist Stroke Coordinator Brittany Stegall said multidisciplinary teams work daily to provide quality care to patients, but residents also need to be educated about strokes in order to help themselves.

Stegall said the BE FAST acronym is the best way for residents to assess if they may be having a stroke. B – balance, loss of balance; Eyes – trouble seeing out of one or both eyes; F – face, facial droop/weakness; A – arm, weakness in arm, or leg; S – speech, slurred or loss of speech; T – time, get to the hospital as soon as possible.

How quickly a person gets to the hospital determines the level of care they receive, Stegall said. She said waiting to see if symptoms persist or go away is a common mistake that patients make because the clot-busting tPA medication given to patients having an ischemic stroke can’t be administered more than three-to-four hours after the onset of stroke symptoms.

“Once at the hospital, we usually give tPA within 45 minutes, in some cases 30 minutes,” Stegall said. “I would advise someone who is having a stroke to call 911. You shouldn’t drive yourself. An ambulance also contacts the hospital so we can be ready and on standby.”

According to the American Stroke Association, strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of serious, long-term disability. Intervening quickly is the key to preventing long-term disability.

In addition to knowing stroke signs and symptoms, Stegall said people should know their stroke risk factors, like having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking and obesity. Strokes can affect people of all ages, but those with these risk factors are more susceptible.

According to Shelby Baptist Medical Center CEO, Daniel Listi, “Our priority at Shelby Baptist is to provide the highest quality care to every patient we have the privilege to serve. This accreditation by The Joint Commission for the treatment of stroke – along with the expansion of our structural heart program to include a new state-of-the-art hybrid operating room – underscores the advanced level care afforded by our hospital to the Shelby County community and across Central Alabama.”