On average, someone suffers a stroke every 45 seconds and someone dies of a stroke every 3.1 minutes. Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States.  Quick diagnosis and treatment of stroke can dramatically affect treatment options as well as the medical outcome and long-term effects of a stroke on patients.  

The Joint Commission, in conjunction with The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, recognized Riverside Doctors' Hospital Williamsburg on March 26, 2014 with Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers. Achievement of Primary Stroke Center Certification signifies an organization's dedication to fostering better outcomes for patients.

"In the case of stroke, we say 'time lost is brain lost' because the faster a person can get the right care, the better their chances of surviving the stroke and recovering more fully," said Dr. Shawke Soueidan, a neurologist with Riverside Neurological Specialists. "This extends our ability to serve the community more fully with all aspects of stroke care."

Certification is a voluntary process and available only to stroke programs in Joint Commission-accredited acute care hospitals. The designation is good for two years.

Riverside Primary Stroke Center: What it Means for Our Patients

To earn certification, the hospital must have an established stroke program that includes specific procedures and highly trained staff able to recognize and treat stroke symptoms quickly using the latest treatment options. The Emergency Department team at Riverside Doctors' Hospital has undergone extensive stroke training, preparation and evaluation by The Joint Commission, and will continue to pursue ongoing training.

"We are pleased to be able to offer Williamsburg residents this expertise," said Dr. James McCorry, the Emergency Department Medical Director at Riverside Doctors' Hospital, which opened in May 2013. "The extensive stroke training our staff received will save lives by providing the needed services more quickly," he said.

This certificate of distinction is awarded only to those programs that comply with the highest national standards for safety and quality of stroke diagnosis, treatment and care.

Programs must also demonstrate a commitment to excellence in providing primary stroke center services based on the recommendations published by the Brain Attack Coalition, and the American Stroke Association's guidelines for stroke care. An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in healthcare.

Stroke Treatment

A stroke deprives the brain of essential nutrients and oxygen needed to keep brain cells alive; rapid diagnosis and treatment are critical. Emergency physicians at Riverside Doctors' Hospital and Riverside Neurological Specialists are available 24x7 and use sophisticated techniques to diagnose and quickly treat stroke symptoms to improve blood flow to the brain and minimize loss of brain cells.

The faster a stroke is diagnosed and treated, the more treatment options are available and potentially, the better the medical outcome. Studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association have shown that patients treated at hospitals with Stroke Centers have reduced mortality rates, fewer complications and improved long-term outcomes.

Published: April 2, 2014