Christiana Hospital earns Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification

Christiana Hospital earns Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification

Jonathan M. Raser-Schramm, M.D., Ph.D.
Jonathan M. Raser-Schramm, M.D., Ph.D.

Christiana Hospital has earned Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification from The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, joining fewer than 80 hospitals nationwide who have earned this recognition.

The designation affirms that Christiana Hospital offers the medical expertise and state-of-the-art infrastructure that is necessary to successfully treat the most complex stroke cases.

The designation also recognizes that Christiana Hospital’s stroke program helps patients beyond the walls of the hospital through coordination of follow-up care and community outreach on stroke prevention.

“At Christiana Care, we partner with our patients to provide them with the most effective stroke care,” said Jonathan Raser-Schramm, M.D., Ph.D., medical director of Christiana Care’s Stroke Program. “The Comprehensive Stroke Certification recognizes that we’re capable of treating patients in the first minutes and hours after stroke symptoms with a full range of emergency stroke treatments.”

“This certification acknowledges that our patients are receiving care at one of the top stroke institutions in the country.”

Christiana Hospital held Primary Stroke Center Certification until applying for the higher-level certification, which was developed only recently. It is one of only four hospitals in the Philadelphia region with the more advanced certification.

The Joint Commission announced the distinction June 26, two months after conducting a two-day, on-site survey of multiple departments at Christiana Care.

“This certification acknowledges that our patients are receiving care at one of the top stroke institutions in the country,” said Melissa Bollinger, RN, BSN, MBA, administrative director for neurosciences. “Being certified at this level recognizes not just the medical expertise and technology we offer, but also that we do provide these services using a model that focuses on the patient’s experience. Comprehensive programs recognize the importance of providing high-quality care that is individualized to the patient and their family.”

Christiana Hospital’s medical team comprises physicians with expertise in multiple areas of stroke and cerebrovascular disease, including stroke neurologists, neurosurgeons, neurocritical care specialists and interventional neuroradiologists, who perform advanced procedures and treatments. The comprehensive certification acknowledges that Christiana Hospital has that specialized expertise available 24/7.

Surveyors who visited the hospital were particularly impressed by the state-of-the-art facilities in Christiana Hospital’s new, 18-bed Lanny Edelsohn, M.D., Neuro Critical Care Unit, a patient care unit solely devoted to patients with immediate life-threatening problems affecting the brain, spinal cord or peripheral nerves. The unit provides patients their greatest chance of survival through the expert care that is critical to treating serious neurovascular illnesses and injuries.

The Joint Commission also looks at a hospital’s focus on community health to prevent stroke and the follow-up care it provides.

Near the end of a patient’s stay at Christiana Hospital, a multidisciplinary team that includes social workers, case managers and rehab specialists will help the patient set up for the next step in recovery, whatever their individual needs are.

“Sometimes, patients and families don’t have resources to go to acute rehab, or they are very interested in taking their family member home with them,” Dr. Raser-Schramm said. “We teach them about the day-to-day care that they will need to take that person home: They stay overnight, learn therapy exercises, and the basics of medications and other skills they’ll need to help their loved one.”

Related to follow-up care and stroke education, Raser-Schramm said the surveyors were impressed by Christiana Care’s stroke-education book, “Stroke Treatment and Prevention: Managing Your Recovery,” and will be sharing it with other institutions to provide to their patients because of its high quality.

“By achieving this advanced certification, Christiana Care has thoroughly demonstrated the greatest level of commitment to the care of its patients with a complex stroke condition,” said Mark R. Chassin, M.D., FACP, M.P.P., M.P.H., president, The Joint Commission. “Certification is a voluntary process and The Joint Commission commends Christiana Care for successfully undertaking this challenge to elevate the standard of its care for the community it serves.”

Christiana Care ranks in the top 10 nationwide in the number of stroke cases it handles, treating more than 1,100 cases annually.

Each year, almost 800,000 people nationwide experience new or recurrent strokes, which are the nation’s fourth-leading cause of death and a major cause of disability. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and someone dies of a stroke every 4 minutes.

The Joint Commission developed Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification in collaboration with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, based on recommendations for comprehensive stroke centers published by the Brain Attack Coalition and recommendations from a multidisciplinary advisory panel of experts in complex stroke care.

Christiana Hospital partners with Wilmington Hospital, which currently holds a Primary Stroke Center Certification, to provide resources and expertise to treat complex strokes.