June 22, 2017

Saint Anne’s Hospital earns dual recognition for care of stroke patients

Fall River, Mass. – Saint Anne’s Hospital has been recognized by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and the Massachusetts Paul Coverdell Stroke Collaborative for high-quality care of stroke patients.

At the recent “Celebration of Success and Awards” ceremony in Framingham, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association awarded Saint Anne’s its second consecutive Get With The Guidelines-Stroke” Gold Quality Achievement AwardThis award recognizes commitment and success in ensuring that stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

At the same meeting, the Massachusetts Paul Coverdell Stroke Program/Hospital Quality Improvement Collaborative recognized Saint Anne’s for completing dysphagia screening on at least 90% of stroke patients. The Dysphagia Screening Award is a quality-of-care benchmark that captures the percent of stroke patients who undergo screening for dysphagia, also known as difficulty in swallowing. It can be one of the effects of stroke.


Saint Anne's Hospital Stroke Awards 2017


“At Saint Anne’s Hospital, we strive to provide exceptional care to all of our patients,” said Michael Bushell, hospital president. “We are proud that our longstanding commitment to providing quality stroke care has been recognized by these prestigious awards from the American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association and DPH’s Coverdell Stroke program.” 

Photo, left-right: Lee Schwaam, MD, FAHA, consultant to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Stroke Systems of Care; Lisa DeMello, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC, clinical nurse specialist and stroke coordinator, Saint Anne's Hospital; and Anita Christie, director, Office of Preventative Services, Massachusetts DPH.

Designated as a Primary Stroke Provider by the Massachusetts Department Public Health in 2005, Saint Anne’s has earned the Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Quality Achievement Award for two consecutive years. To receive the Gold Quality Achievement Award, hospitals must achieve 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month periods. These quality measures are designed to help hospital teams provide the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. They focus on appropriate use of guideline-based care for stroke patients, including aggressive use of medications such as clot-busting and anti-clotting drugs, blood thinners and cholesterol-reducing drugs; preventive action for deep vein thrombosis; and smoking cessation counseling

The Massachusetts Paul Coverdell Stroke Collaborative is a stroke registry and quality improvement partnership of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Paul Coverdell National Acute Stroke Registry, and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get with the Guidelines-Stroke Program. Saint Anne’s has been a member of the Massachusetts Paul Coverdell Stroke Collaborative since 2005.

About Saint Anne’s Hospital

Founded by the Dominican Sisters of the Presentation in 1906, Saint Anne’s Hospital in Fall River, Massachusetts, is a full-service, acute care Catholic hospital with 185 beds and satellite locations in Attleboro, Swansea, Dartmouth, New Bedford, and Stoughton, Massachusetts. A member of Steward Health Care, Saint Anne’s provides nationally recognized patient- and family-centered inpatient care (including all private rooms) and outpatient clinical services to patients from surrounding Massachusetts and Rhode Island communities. In addition to comprehensive diagnostic, medical, surgical, and emergency services, Saint Anne’s key services include the Joint Commission-certified Center for Orthopedic Excellence; Saint Anne’s Hospital Regional Cancer Center; ambulatory surgery centers in Attleboro and Dartmouth; the Center for Pain Management in Swansea and Dartmouth; and geriatric psychiatry services at locations in Fall River and Stoughton.

Understanding stroke

The American Heart Association defines stroke as a cardiovascular disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs, so it starts to die. When a stroke occurs and blood flow can't reach the region that controls a particular body function, that part of the body won't work as it should.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in Massachusetts and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, someone dies of a stroke every four minutes, and nearly 800,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year. Immediate assessment and treatment is critical to help improve outcomes.

Knowing the key signs and symptoms of stroke and calling 9-1-1 immediately can save a life. The F.A.S.T. acronym is an easy way to remember: 

  • Face: Does the face look uneven? Ask the person to smile.
  • Arm: Does one arm drift down? Ask the person to raise both arms.
  • Speech: Does the speech sound strange? Ask the person to repeat a phrase.
  • Time: If you observe these symptoms, call 9-1-1.

For more information about the Massachusetts Paul Coverdell National Acute Stroke Program, or about FAST and the DPH stroke awareness campaign, visit