The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association presented Blount Memorial Hospital with a pair of awards for its commitment to providing quality stroke care.

The hospital received Wednesday both the Get With The Guidelines Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award and the Get With The Guidelines Target: Stroke Honor Roll Bronze Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, BMH announced Wednesday in a news release.

“We are incredibly proud of these recognitions,” said Dr. Deaver Shattuck, BMH stroke medical director and hospitalist. “It was a true team effort. These awards validate the state-of-the-art, evidence-based, world-class stroke care that we’ve strived to deliver since we initiated our stroke program.”

The awards signify meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period. That includes evaluation of 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; reducing death and disability for stroke patients; and ensuring that patients receive education on managing their health and schedule a follow-up before they are discharged.

“Blount Memorial Hospital is committed to providing top-notch stroke care to the people in this community,” said Dr. Harold Naramore, BMH chief medical officer. “These recognitions acknowledge that commitment, but they are not the goal. The goal, as always, is to get our patients the best-possible stroke treatments as quickly as we can in order to help them not only survive, but recover with little or no deficits.”

When someone is having a stroke or experiencing stroke symptoms, every moment counts. Strokes occur either when a blood clot blocks an artery or when a blood vessel breaks, which interrupts blood flow. This means that the brain is no longer getting blood and oxygen. The longer it takes to get treatment, the greater the risk for long-term damage.

Stroke symptoms

Stroke symptoms can include:

• Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, particularly on one side of the body;

• Sudden confusion, or trouble speaking or understanding, as well as sudden vision problems in one or both eyes;

• Sudden trouble walking, with dizziness or loss of coordination or balance;

• A sudden severe headache with no known cause.

F.A.S.T.

“Because time is such a factor in stroke care, it’s important to be able to spot stroke symptoms when they occur,” Shattuck said. “One quick, easy way to remember them is with the ‘F.A.S.T’ test. Ask the person to smile to see if one side of his or her face droops.

Next, ask the person to raise both arms to see if one arm drifts downward. Third, ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, looking for signs of slurred speech or issues remembering the words.

Finally, since time is critical, if the person is exhibiting any of these symptoms, get him or her to the hospital immediately. Face, arms, speech and time — F.A.S.T.,” he explained. “Remember, with stroke it’s crucial to call 911 or get to the Blount Memorial emergency department as quickly as possible.”

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 and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

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