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News Room: Press Releases

Virtua Memorial receives prestigious stroke care award

Virtua Memorial has received a Gold Performance Achievement Award from the American Stroke Association; the third year in a row the Mount Holly hospital has been honored. The Get With The Guidelines award recognizes hospitals that not only have a dedicated stroke unit, but have also developed a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted through the emergency department and then to a dedicated stroke unit. "The Gold Award is a difficult one to achieve, especially three years in a row," said Catherine Curley, RN, MSN, director of Virtua's Neurology Program of Excellence. "This puts us in an elite category of primary stroke centers that are able to consistently maintain the high standard for diagnosing and treating patients with acute stroke." There is around-the-clock access to a dedicated stroke team, neuroimaging and clot dissolving medications when appropriate. The current award reflects a two-year period of meeting national stroke care guidelines as described by the American Stroke Association. "This award means that we are taking care of our patients according to stringent national guidelines," said Mitchell Rubin, MD, medical director of Virtua's neuroscience program. "The staff that cares for stroke patients should be extremely proud if this accomplishment." An estimated 780,000 new or recurrent strokes occur each year in the United States, according to the American Stroke Association. That's an average of one every 40 seconds. Stroke is the number three cause of death in America, behind heart disease and cancer. It's also a leading cause of serious long-term disability. "This award is not just about the excellent treatment patients receive in the hospital," said Stephen Kolesk, MD, Vice President and COO at Virtua Memorial. "They are also given information on how to manage risks - including high cholesterol or smoking - to lessen the chance of a second stroke." Virtua Memorial, as well as Virtua's three other hospitals, are designated as Primary Stroke Centers by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. In addition, Virtua Memorial is a JCAHO accredited stroke location. "The American Stroke Association commends Virtua Memorial for its success in implementing standards of care protocols," said Lee H. Schwalm, MD, national Get With The Guidelines Steering Committee Member and director of acute stroke services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "The full implementation of acute care and secondary prevention recommendations and guidelines is a critical step in saving the lives and improving outcomes of stroke patients." Anyone experiencing symptoms of stroke should call 911. These include sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes, sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination; or sudden, severe headache with no known cause. Timely treatment is the key to a successful outcome and less disability from stroke.
As one of New Jersey’s largest health systems, Virtua helps people be well, get well and stay well through a comprehensive range of health care services. Services are delivered through three health and wellness centers, three fitness centers, four acute care hospitals, primary and specialty physician practices with more than 240 physicians, urgent care centers, seven ambulatory surgery centers, home health services, two long-term care and rehabilitation centers, 12 paramedic units and a wide range of outpatient services. A leader in maternal and child health services, Virtua delivers more than 8,000 babies a year. Virtua also provides employment and wellness services to 1,700 businesses and corporations. An innovator in clinical and information technology such as electronic medical records, Virtua is recognized for its ground-breaking partnerships with GE Healthcare, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and the Fox Chase Cancer Center. It is the official orthopedic provider for the Philadelphia Flyers. Virtua employs more than 8,400 people and has been honored as the #1 Best Place to Work in the Delaware Valley every year since 2007. It is the recipient of the Consumer Choice Award from the National Research Corporation. For more information, visit  www.virtua.org or www.virtuabroadcastnetwork.org.