What’s a Primary Stroke Center?

The Sacred Heart Medical Center Advanced Primary Stroke Center has earned the Gold Seal of Approval and Primary Stroke Center certification from the Joint Commission.

As an advanced primary stroke center, we follow a set of recommendations from the Brain Attack Coalition, a national group of medical, governmental, and professional associations dedicated to reducing the suffering caused by stroke.

The recommendations focus on 11 aspects of stroke care:

  1. Acute stroke team: includes a doctor experienced in diagnosing and treating cerebrovascular disease, along with other specialists, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to evaluate within 15 minutes any patient who may have suffered a stroke
  2. Written care protocols: written procedures to help streamline and speed up the diagnosis of stroke and treatment of stroke patients
  3. Emergency medical services: in-the-field diagnosis and treatment, and rapid transport of patients to the emergency department
  4. Emergency department: ED staff trained in diagnosing stroke and treating patients with stroke; maintaining strong lines of communication with EMS and the stroke care team
  5. Stroke care team: a unit of hospital-based specialists called together to provide monitoring and care of stroke patients
  6. Neurosurgical services: a specialty that focuses on the surgery that treats diseases of the brain, spinal cord and nervous system
  7. Support of medical organization: the commitment of administration and professional and nonprofessional staff to provide high-quality care to stroke patients
  8. Neuroimaging: imaging of the brain, spinal cord and nervous system, with the capability of performing an imaging study within 25 minutes of the doctor's order, and evaluating the image by a doctor within 20 minutes of its completion
  9. Laboratory services: around-the-clock standard laboratory services, including chest x-rays and measurements of heart activity, with results delivered rapidly and accurately
  10. Quality improvement: includes written or electronic recordkeeping for tracking the number and types of stroke patients seen, their treatments, and some measurement of patient outcomes
  11. Educational programs: continuing medical training for the professional staff of a primary stroke center, and at least two programs a year to educate the public about stroke prevention and the availability of emergency treatment