MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Feb. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- El Camino Hospital announced today that its Stroke Center has received the Gold Seal of Approval(TM) from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), the same national organization that accredits hospitals. To achieve this designation, El Camino Hospital (ECH) had to demonstrate that its stroke program is meeting national standards and guidelines that can significantly improve outcomes for stroke, the nation's third leading cause of death. ECH joins the elite ranks of less than 200 primary stroke centers in the United States to earn the designation. "We're proud to achieve the distinction and, more importantly, we're pleased that this stroke designation will allow us to continue serving stroke patients in this community," said Marla Gularte, interim chief executive officer of El Camino Hospital. "Life-saving treatment for stroke often depends on getting to the hospital within a very small window of time," Ms. Gularte added. "Minutes count in emergency treatment for stroke, so prompt transfer and immediate accessibility to appropriate care can mean the difference between life and death for stroke patients in this community." ECH's Stroke Center has an in-house team of specialists available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to meet the needs of stroke patients, including a panel of on-call neurologists that ensures a consistent and rapid response in the emergency room when a patient arrives with stroke symptoms. Neurologist Ronald Hess, M.D., and program coordinator Ruby Garma, R.N., have been leading an interdisciplinary team of neurologists and other physicians, stroke unit nurses, emergency department nurses, and occupational, physical, and speech therapists. In addition to leading ECH's stroke program, Dr. Hess was involved in the American Stroke Association's "Get with the Guidelines" stroke pilot study, a campaign supporting hospitals' use of guidelines to help patients get optimal treatment as quickly as possible. "This designation as a primary stroke center recognizes the dedication El Camino Hospital has long had to providing the best stroke care for our community, as well as the hard work and devotion of our Stroke Center team," said Dr. Hess. "We look forward to continuing to provide patients with the best and most expeditious care, as well as educating patients about the warning signs of stroke and the importance of rapidly getting to the nearest stroke center." Each year about 700,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke. Every 45 seconds, someone in America has a stroke and every three minutes, someone dies of one. As the nation's third leading cause of death, stroke ranks only behind diseases of the heart and all forms of cancer. In addition, stroke is a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States, with about 4.7 million stroke survivors alive today. Warning sings of a stroke include: -- weakness or numbness on one side of the body -- loss of vision or double vision -- difficulty speaking or trouble understanding speech -- severe headache with no known cause -- unexplained dizziness or imbalance The Joint Commission's Primary Stroke Center Certification Program is based on the Recommendations for Primary Stroke Centers published by the Brain Attack Coalition and American Stroke Association statements for stroke to evaluate hospitals functioning as primary stroke centers. For more information on JCAHO's accreditation program, visit www.jcaho.org. An independent, not-for-profit organization, the Joint Commission is the nation's predominant standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. About El Camino Hospital: El Camino Hospital is a 395-bed hospital located in Mountain View, California. For more than 44 years, El Camino Hospital has been distinguished by its high caliber staff and affiliated physicians, comprehensive and innovative services and a long history of responding to the needs of the community it serves. Consistently ranked as a leading hospital in the area, El Camino Hospital has been designated a Magnet hospital for nursing excellence by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the credentialing arm of the American Nurses Association. In addition to being a JCAHO-certified stroke center, the hospital is a 2005 American Hospital Association Quest for Quality Award finalist, and one of the Top 100 Most Wired Hospitals in the United States.
SOURCE El Camino Hospital