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St. Joseph/Candler receives honor for stroke care
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St. Joseph’s/Candler once again has earned the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get with the Guidelines Stroke Gold plus Performance Achievement Award.
According to a news release, both St. Joseph’s Hospital and Candler Hospital earned the award.
To receive the award, SJ/C achieved 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get with the Guidelines-Stroke Performance Achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month intervals and achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with six of eight Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Measures, which are reporting initiatives to measure quality of care. 
These measures include aggressive use of medications, such as tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol-reducing drugs, patient and family education and smoking cessation, all aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.
SJ/C has invested in technology that allows its neurologists to remotely diagnose and treat stroke patients in eight rural hospitals in Southeast Georgia.
“Our mantra has always been: every patient, every time,” St. Joseph’s/Candler president  and CEO Paul P. Hinchey said. “With stroke, time is brain. That is why we’re always committed to providing the most aggressive and proven stroke care available. This award allows patients to seek treatment at hospitals with the best outcomes. Hospitals that have achieved the gold plus designation have proven to achieve excellent outcomes.”
SJ/C doctors have treated more than 1,600 stroke patients in the region since 2009.
The health-care system also passed along these tips for stroke identification and prevention:

Signs of Stroke: FAST
F: Face. Ask the person to smile. Does the side of one’s face seem to droop?
A: Arms. Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S: Speech. Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
T: Time. If you observe any one of these warning signs, call 911 immediately.

Risk factors
Risk factors that cannot be changed:
• Age. Risk of stroke increases with age.
• Gender. Men have a higher risk of getting heart disease than women, except in older adults.
• Genes or race. If one’s parents had a stroke, they are at higher risk. African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, American Indians, Hawaiians and some Asian-Americans also have a higher risk for heart problems.
• Diseases such as cancer, heart disease, chronic kidney disease and some types of arthritis.
• Weak areas in an artery wall or abnormal arteries and veins.
• Pregnancy, both during and in the weeks right after the pregnancy.

Risk factors that can be changed
• Do not smoke or quit smoking
• Control cholesterol through diet, exercise and medicines, if needed.
• Control high blood pressure through diet, exercise and medicines, if needed.
• Control diabetes through diet, exercise and medicines, if needed.
• Exercise at least 30 minutes a day.
• Maintain a healthy weight by eating healthy foods, eating less and joining a weight-loss program, if needed.

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