In early February, Valley earned certification as a Thrombectomy Capable Stroke Center, becoming the third hospital in Washington state and the first in South King County to earn this prestigious honor from The Joint Commission.
Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability. Thrombectomy Capable Certification means that patients can stay within their community to receive world-class neuro intervention for strokes. Providing access to timely thrombectomy treatment (mechanical clot removal from a large vessel in the brain) improves patient outcomes. Valley also provides comprehensive stroke patient assessment, administration of IV tPA, monitoring and education, care transitions, follow up, and secondary stroke prevention.
The advanced certification process involved a two-day, on-site review of Valley’s Stroke Center. Joint Commission officials analyzed the hospital’s commitment to certifications standards, including evidence-based care for stroke patients, continuous quality improvement, patient safety and quality of care.
In order to meet eligibility requirements for this certification, Valley has been continuously growing its stroke program. The program growth has included several components, including creating new treatment algorithms, burst notification systems, a quality dashboard to monitor stroke measure performance, and implementing stroke training for more than 300 nurses and staff. In October 2018, Ali Sultan-Qurraie, MD, joined Peter Balousek, MD, on Valley’s neuro intervention team. In 2019, Valley opened new angio hybrid OR suites and biplane. This technology along with expertly trained staff allowed Valley to provide thrombectomy 24/7/365 to our community.
The Stroke Core Team consists of Dr. Michael Previti, Stroke Medical Director; Dr. Cameron Buck, ED Medical Director; James Jones, VP of Patient Care Services, Program Excellence Sponsor; and Erin Eddington Alden, ARNP-CNS Stroke Coordinator. There is also an extensive team from within the hospital and Valley’s Clinic Network who work in conjunction with the Stroke Team and were essential to Valley receiving Thrombectomy Capable Certification:
- Community partners, including the first responders who notify the Emergency Department of patients being transported
- Emergency Department staff, who provide expert triage and expedite patient’s stroke evaluation
- ED providers, Neuro-hospitalists, Neuro-interventionalists who expertly assess and provide care decisions and treatments
- Pharmacy team who mix tPA bedside
- Lab staff who prioritize and process stroke labs
- Radiologists and Radiology Techs who quickly scan and read images necessary for timely treatment
- Cath Lab and Interventional Radiology staff who have helped standardize intervention equipment and process
- Intensivists, CCU, and Stroke unit staff who provide skilled patient assessment and monitoring
- Hospitalists who expertly manage complex stroke patient care coordination.
- The Transition of Care team, including rehabilitation, discharge planning, RN Care Managers, Social Workers, the Stroke Clinic and Rehab Medicine providers and staff
- Primary care physicians who follow the stroke patient plans of care
- The Education Department, the Outcomes team of data analysts, QI specialists, and the accreditation manager who help the program with data abstraction, time studies, case feedback, and survey readiness
“Obtaining this certification would not be possible without every team member. We are very fortunate to have such a talented team committed to caring for stroke patients,” Erin said, “Each team member played a role in obtaining this certification through a rigorous process.”
In addition to its Joint Commission Thrombectomy Capable Certification, Valley’s Stroke Center has been awarded the American Heart and Stroke Association’s Get with the Guidelines: Target Stroke Elite Honor Roll Plus Gold Plus Quality Achievement award for four consecutive years.