Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital receives elite recognition for stroke patient care

American Heart Association recognizes hospital’s commitment to quality stroke care

Staff Report

Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll Elite. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to providing the most appropriate stroke treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

Hospitals must achieve 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month periods and achieve 75 percent or higher compliance with five of eight Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality measures to receive the Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. Hugh Chatham had previously achieved that performance level in 2015, and now it has also earned the special distinction of Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite.

To qualify for the Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite, 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 ischemic stroke. If given intravenously in the first three hours after the start of stroke symptoms, tPA has been shown to significantly reduce the effects of stroke and lessen the chance of permanent disability. Hugh Chatham earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period.

These quality measures are designed to help hospital teams follow the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 5 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, someone dies of a stroke every four minutes, and nearly 800,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

“This recognition further demonstrates our commitment to delivering advanced stroke treatments to patients quickly and safely,” said Paul Hammes, chief executive officer at Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital. “There’s a saying that ‘time lost is brain lost’ which is important to remember, because a stroke patient loses 1.9 million neurons each minute stroke treatment is delayed.”

Hammes added that Hugh Chatham, which was the Yadkin Valley’s first hospital to meet specific scientific guidelines as a Primary Stroke Center, has maintained that designation by having a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to the emergency department.

As a very fit 67-year-old who avoids processed foods and is an active golfer and yoga enthusiast, Leah Pilcher was shocked when she found herself having a stroke at her family’s summer home in Roaring Gap in November 2014. Her arm began to tingle and the symptoms quickly turned into left-side paralysis. She got to a chair and asked her husband to call an ambulance.

First responders arrived in seven minutes and EMS arrived in 12. By the time she left her house in an ambulance 20 minutes later, she had an IV and her vitals were already sent to Hugh Chatham, which was ready to quickly get her a CT scan when she arrived. The scan revealed a stroke caused by a blood clot, making her a candidate for the clot-busting drug tPA which was given to her. In less than an hour, Pilcher’s condition began to improve and she regained use of her left hand. She was transferred to the hospital’s intensive care unit where she stayed for two and a half days as she continued to recover and make plans to start rehabilitation.

While she still has some paralysis on the side of her face and in her throat and tongue, she can speak clearly and is back to playing golf and taking yoga classes. “I was delighted by the complete attention paid to me at Hugh Chatham, I’ve been in a lot of hospitals and this was the best experience I’ve had,” she said.

“If you think you’re having stroke symptoms, call an ambulance the absolute instant you suspect something. Do not drive yourself or have your spouse drive you. EMS is available and they can start an IV and get all of your information to the hospital so they’re ready for you when you arrive,” she added, saying that it’s equally important to know where you’re going. “Make sure you’re at a hospital that you feel confident in. It’s very important. Hugh Chatham saved my life.”

Hugh Chatham is a not-for-profit community health care network of physician clinics and an 81-bed acute care hospital that delivers a seamless and convenient health care experience to communities in the Yadkin Valley region of North Carolina and Virginia. Hugh Chatham includes a medical group of more than 50 providers and nearly 800 employees who provide patient-and family-centered care at 23 locations. Headquartered in Elkin, North Carolina, Hugh Chatham is a leader in using technology to coordinate care for patients and to provide opportunities for patients to interact with the health system. For more information, visit the website at, and follow on Facebook and on Twitter @HughChatham.

American Heart Association recognizes hospital’s commitment to quality stroke care

Staff Report

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