American Heart Association Award recognizes Orange Regional Medical Center’s commitment to quality stroke care

Orange Regional Medical Center has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award, and Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

Orange Regional Medical Center earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients. This included evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines, all toward the goal of improving recovery time and reducing the risk of death and disability for stroke patients. Before discharge, patients receive education on managing their health, and a follow-up visit is scheduled.

“Treatment within three hours of presenting symptoms of a stroke, not only provide the best chance for survival, incurs less disability after a stroke,” said Medical Director of Orange Regional Medical Center’s Stroke Center, Olga Fishman, MD. “To receive this recognition from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, shines a spotlight on the hard work of our team and Orange Regional Medical Center’s commitment to providing immediate high quality care for stroke patients.”

A stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States.

On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year. To better prepare people to respond to a stroke in a timely manner and with appropriate action, Orange Regional Medical Center supports using the FAST acronym to educate the public on the signs and symptoms of stroke:

F = Face Drooping
A = Arm Weakness
S = Speech Difficulty
T = Time to call 911

The acronym can help people remember and recognize the general signs and symptoms of a stroke, including:

  • Weakness or numbness on one side
  • Facial drooping
  • Slurred or irregular speaking
  • Vision loss
  • Severe headache or dizziness

The sooner symptoms are recognized, the sooner medical help can be sought.

Quicker response time at the onset of a stroke can lead to faster treatment, which results in better chances of survival and decreased physical and neurological disabilities. Highly effective treatments that can be administered early from the onset of a stroke, include administering a clot dissolving medication within three to four hours, or a thrombectomy, which is a type of surgery to remove a blood clot from inside an artery or vein, that can be performed within six to 24 hours.

“We aim to help community members understand the signs and symptoms of a stroke so they can come to our Emergency Department sooner and not wait,” said Neuroscience Coordinator, Suzanne Geraci, RN, BSN, CPHQ. “Quicker response times increase chance of survival, and decrease physical and neurological disabilities.”

Orange Regional Medical Center also received the association’s Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll award. To qualify for this recognition, 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 tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke.

“We are pleased to recognize Orange Regional Medical Center for its commitment to stroke care,” said Eric E. Smith, MD, national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines Steering Committee and an associate professor of neurology at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. “Research has shown that hospitals adhering to clinical measures through the Get With The Guidelines quality improvement initiative can often see fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates.”

Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that provides hospitals with tools and resources to increase adherence to the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal of saving lives and hastening recovery, Get With The Guidelines has touched the lives of more than 6 million patients since 2001. For more information, visit