FALL RIVER — Southcoast Health announced today that all three of its hospitals — Charlton Memorial, St. Luke’s and Tobey — have received awards for stroke treatment from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.

Charlton Memorial and St. Luke’s have been named recipients of the Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: Stroke℠ Honor Roll, the highest designation, while Tobey earned Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: Stroke℠ Honor Roll designation. The awards recognize the hospitals’ commitment and success in ensuring that stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines and the latest scientific evidence.

“It takes teamwork, dedication and a passion for excellence to deliver life-saving measures in the nick of time,” said Keith Hovan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Southcoast Health.

“I am proud of the fine work of our physicians, nurses and EMS partners in earning these prestigious awards.”

To receive the Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award, hospitals must achieve an 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month periods and achieve a 75 percent or higher compliance with five of eight Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality measures.

“Coordinated stroke care delivers clot-busting medications that save brain tissue and in turn improves functional recovery. Receiving quick treatment can lessen the acuity of effects a stroke has on a patient,” said Hackner.

“At Southcoast, our integrated stroke care treats the whole patient with timely therapies, nutrition, management of heart-related risk factors and approaches to reduce risk of future stroke or complications. By beginning the rehabilitative process early in care, Southcoast stroke efforts shorten time to recovery.”

Hackner said it is vitally important that people become aware of the signs of stroke and immediately call 911. For instance, “FAST” is an easy way to remember those signs: “F” for face drooping; “A” for arm weakness; “S” for speech difficulty; and “T” for time to call 911. For more information about the prevention, symptoms, and treatment of stroke, visit southcoast.org/wellness-van/stroke-prevention-education/.

To qualify for the Target: Stroke Honor Roll, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or t-PA, 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, t-PA has been shown to significantly reduce the effects of stroke and lessen the chance of permanent disability.

“We appreciate Southcoast and our employees being recognized for their efforts towards systematic stroke care,” said Dr. Dani Hackner, Chief Clinical Officer for Southcoast Hospitals Group.

“Stroke is an emergent and treatable condition. Collaborative care saves lives and improves patient functional recovery. This AHA honor is a testament to the commitment of our excellent providers and staff to improving stroke care for the community.”

These quality measures are designed to focus hospital teams on providing the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death as well as a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.