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RiverBend earns “gold plus” award for stroke care for 8th year in a row

June 20, 2019

(Springfield, Ore.)— PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend has once again received national recognition for its success and commitment to providing excellent care for stroke patients, according to nationally recognized, evidence-based guidelines.

This year marks the eighth consecutive year the RiverBend stroke team has earned the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines® – Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award, and the third year of recognition among those listed on the Target: Stroke Elite Plus Honor Roll. Developed with the goal to save lives and improve recovery time, Get With The Guidelines has impacted more than 6 million patients since the program’s inception in 2001.

To receive the Gold Plus award, Sacred Heart at RiverBend achieved 85 percent or higher adherence to several quality achievement indicators for two or more consecutive calendar years, and achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with seven of 10 quality measures. These measures include aggressive use of medications aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.

To qualify for the Elite Plus designation, RiverBend met specific quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster agent tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke. If given intravenously in the first three hours after the start of stroke symptoms, tPA has been shown to significantly reduce the effects of stroke and lessen the chance of permanent disability. Most often, stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks blood flow to part of the brain. The brain cells in the immediate area begin to die from lack of oxygen and nutrients.

“It takes a dedicated team to provide rapid, high-quality stroke care,” said Dr. Elaine Skalabrin, Stroke Medical Director at Sacred Heart at RiverBend’s Primary Stroke Center. “We have just such a highly specialized team who provide state-of-the-art stroke care including advanced endovascular approaches (catheter-based clot retrieval).  We are honored to be recognized by this award.”

Each year, nearly 795,000 people in the United States suffer a stroke. Stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the U.S. On average, someone suffers a stroke in the U.S. every 40 seconds. In 2018, the stroke team at RiverBend treated 764 stroke patients.

For more information about Sacred Heart at RiverBend’s Primary Stroke Center, visit


Stroke Symptoms
The signs of stroke are distinct because they happen quickly. Use the BEFAST acronym to remember the signs of stroke.
•    B: Sudden balance changes
•    E: Sudden eyesight changes
•    F: Sudden facial drooping
•    A: Sudden arm weakness
•    S: Sudden speech changes
•    T: Time to call 911 if any one of the above occurs