Trinity hits the mark

There may have been a winter chill in the air outside, but indoors on the Trinity skywalk it was all warm smiles and congratulatory wishes at the news conference held Tuesday morning for Trinity Health.

That’s because Trinity Health was recently named the 1,000th Certified Primary Stroke Center in the U.S. by The Joint Commission and the American Heart/American Stroke Association.

Representatives from The Joint Commission and the American Heart/American Stroke Association were in Minot to make the announcement and offer their congratulations to Trinity Health on their achievement. Nearly 8,000 Americans suffer a recurring or a first time stroke and it is one of the leading causes of death, said one of the representatives from The Joint Commission. Trinity is reaching for a higher standard in stroke care and is distinguished as a top hospital in stroke care, the representative added.

“Providing stroke care is a team effort,” noted M.J. Hampel, senior associate director at The Joint Commission. “It takes a lot of time, a lot of energy, and a lot of cooperation to achieve this.”

She also noted that mortality rates for stroke at certified primary stroke centers are lower and Trinity has taken a major step.

The Joint Commission launched its stroke center program in 2003 to improve the outcomes of people who experience stroke. A Primary Stroke Center is a hospital that has been certified to perform the best practices when it comes to stroke care. Certification is available only to stroke programs in Joint Commission-accredited acute care hospitals.

In order for Trinity to get approval to be a Primary Stroke Center, they followed a two-year effort that included putting in place protocols to treat stroke patients within the critical three-hour window that is required to minimize loss of brain tissue. The approval also involved a rigorous site inspection in November 2012. A Joint Commission reviewer with expertise in stroke care evaluated Trinity Health for compliance with standards, clinical practice guidelines and performance measurement activities.

“We’re very proud to have accomplished Joint Commission certification by providing this level of care for our stroke patients,” said Maximo Kiok, M.D., neurologist and director of Trinity Health’s stroke program. “I think this reflects the fact that this is a team effort and reflects on the culture of Trinity as a primary stroke center.”

When he gave his quick speech at the conference, Kiok also remarked that the staff were probably working on someone with a stroke at that moment.

After the conference, heart-healthy treats of fruits and vegetables were offered to all in attendance.