Get With the Guidelines Stroke Gold Plus Award

AHA - get w guidelines awardMercy Health Saint Mary’s Earns Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus

American Heart Association recognizes Mercy Health Saint Mary’s commitment to quality stroke care

For two consecutive years, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s has earned the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Achievement Award with Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll Elite Plus. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to providing the most appropriate stroke treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence. Mercy Health Saint Mary’s is one of only four hospitals in Michigan to receive this honor.

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

To qualify for the Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus, 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. 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. Mercy Health Saint Mary’s earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period.

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

“A stroke patient loses 1.9 million neurons each minute stroke treatment is delayed. This recognition further demonstrates our commitment to delivering advanced stroke treatments to patients quickly and safely,” said Muhammad Umar Farooq, MD, vascular neurologist, Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences. “Mercy Health Saint Mary’s continues to strive for excellence in the acute treatment of stroke patients. The recognition from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke further reinforces our team’s hard work.”

“The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association recognize Mercy Health Saint Mary’s for its commitment to stroke care,” said Paul Heidenreich, M.D., M.S., national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines Steering Committee and Professor of Medicine at Stanford University. “Research has shown there are benefits to patients who are treated at hospitals that have adopted the Get With The Guidelines program.”

Get With The Guidelines®-S puts the expertise of the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association to work for hospitals nationwide, helping hospital care teams ensure the care provided to patients is aligned with the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal to save lives and improve recovery time, Get With The Guidelines®-S has impacted more than 3 million patients since 2003.

Dawn Warren – DAISY Award Recipient for May 2016

signing bannerCongratulations to Dawn Warren, DAISY Award Recipient for May 2016!

An excerpt from her nomination form reads:

“Recently, the staff of 4 Lacks cared for a patient who was admitted for observation. This was a complicated case, and Dawn Warren navigated this admission to Mercy Health Home Care beautifully. When this patient was ready for discharge, Mercy Health Home Care accepted this patient for home care and Dawn helped with her transition to home.

“Keeping with our guiding behaviors, Dawn worked tirelessly to advocate for this patient by thinking out of the box. Dawn collaborated with our own physicians, spending many hours on the phone encouraging and supporting the patient’s caregiver as she continued to advocate for a seamless transition to care. The best part of this is that the patient and family felt cared for as Dawn lived out our nursing vision of providing excellent nursing care to those entrusted to us.

“Although this is one specific example of how Dawn delivers care that is compassionate, this is a typical practice of Dawn’s. She goes above and beyond consistently. She is always caring and compassionate. She is a strong advocate and she never gives up.”

Congrats to Tom Smart, PCA, Friend of Nursing Award Recipient for May 2016

small group shotCongratulations to Tom Smart, PCA, who works in the staffing center, as he receives the Friend of Nursing Award for May 2016!

An excerpt from his nomination reads:

Because Tom Smart, PCA, works in the staffing center, I see him frequently and I have had the privilege of working with him often. He is able to read my mind and he has the instincts and the foresight to see what is going to happen next. When I delegate something to Tom, I don’t have to spend needless time following up with him to make sure the task got done, because Tom has impeccable follow-though. During time sensitive moments, Tom acts and gets the job done. Moreover, Tom has the ability to remain calm in stressful situations and he has a positive and professional attitude that is contagious. He is one of the most highly functioning PCAs I have ever had the opportunity to work with. He has a strong concept of patient centered care. He is fun to work with!

The specific reason I nominated Tom was because of the time he took to help out his colleagues during this moment in time with a patient who had a stroke. It is because he stopped to help us that this patient experienced a full recovery from his stroke within 24hours after arriving through those ambulance bay doors and this patient was able to go home two days later. This is a fantastic ending for the patient and his family. Mercy Health Saint Mary’s is fortunate to have Tom by all of our patients’ sides.

group shotThank you for being a great colleague, Tom!

I appreciate Tom and all of the hard work he does to help me provide excellent nursing care to those entrusted to us!

Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Remains Region’s Only NICHE Exemplar Status Hospital

NICHE nurses
Pictured: Felicia Slabbekoorn, ADN, Angie Bishop, BSN, April Brady, BSN, and David Thomas, BSN, are four of the gerontological nurses on staff at our organization.

NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) is the premier designation indicating a hospital’s commitment to excellence in the care of patients 65 years and older. According to the U.S Census Bureau, close to 45 million people in the United States are above the age of 65, a number that is predicted to nearly double by 2060 which furthers the need for specialized geriatric care.

Mercy Health Saint Mary’s has been a NICHE hospital since 2010, and an Exemplar status hospital since 2014. The evaluation for the NICHE hospital benchmarks a hospital’s progress from year-to-year, targets future care initiatives and provides data to use in gaining and sustaining support from institution stakeholders. The Exemplar status further recognizes Mercy Health Saint Mary’s for its ongoing dedication to geriatric care and initiatives that demonstrate organizational commitment to the care of older adults. Nationally, fewer than 100 hospitals currently have earned and maintained this status as of 2016.

“Exemplar status is especially meaningful for our community, our patients and their caregivers,” said Julie Lundvick, BSN, RN-BC, CDE, clinical service director of Senior Care, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. “We have the tools to serve as advocates for those in need of specialized geriatric care.”

The positive effects of NICHE designation are exemplified in the story of an immigrant couple in their 90s, Johanna and Pieter (not their real names). Johanna had recently been admitted to Mercy Health Saint Mary’s with a urinary tract infection. Her husband, Pieter, was admitted on the same day with dangerously low blood pressure. Prior to their admission, Johanna and Pieter had resided in separate facilities.

Johanna and Pieter had been married for more than 50 years. During their hospitalizations, Pieter was alert, but Johanna was confused. Staff thought that if they could bring the two together, it would reduce the confusion for Johanna. Pieter was too weak to travel within the unit, so the nursing staff brought Johanna to visit Pieter. When she would walk in and see her husband, Johanna would light up. She spoke to him in their native Dutch language and immediately reached out to hold his hand. Staff couldn’t understand a word they were saying, but their love’s language broke through barriers.

Mercy Health Saint Mary’s staff cared for Johanna and Pieter for four days, during which many visits between the two were arranged. Physical and occupational therapy for both patients were coordinated in Pieter’s room. Pieter had a pacemaker implanted to control his heart rate and Johanna’s infection cleared up.

Upon discharge, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s case workers collaborated for the couple to be discharged to the same long-term care facility that provided different levels of care, so Johanna and Pieter would not have to live apart.

The key elements for earning Exemplar status include:
• Implementation of the NICHE Geriatric Resource Nurse (GRN) model;
• Expansion of geriatric care across all applicable units by using evidence-based protocols, such as sleep protocol, avoidance of high-risk drugs for seniors, prevention of functional decline and pain management;
• Physical design of the Senior Adult Unit and the Emergency Department at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Campus to accommodate for patient population;
• Number of geriatricians who workwithin the health system;
• Involvement and partnership with long-term care facilities.

“The NICHE designation and the Exemplar status signal our resolve to provide patient-centered care for older adults,” said Lundvick. “Through our participation in the NICHE program, we are able to offer evidence-based, interdisciplinary approaches that promote better outcomes, positive experiences, and improved care for the older adults in our care. This leads to greater satisfaction rates for our patients, their families and our staff.”

NICHE guidelines and practices help the staff at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s find what is best for each patient through things such as individualized plans of care and discharge plans that cater to the wants and needs of each patient. NICHE participation has also helped the entire interdisciplinary team work together efficiently; a team that includes health care providers, nurses, physical and speech therapists and case managers.

“There are not enough health providers, nurses included, who either specialize in geriatric care or who possess the necessary competency of geriatrics knowledge in their practice,” said Jennie Chin Hansen, RN, MS, FAAN, CEO of the American Geriatrics Society.

Although there are only 7,300 nurses board-certified as Gerontological Nurses across the nation, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s has 52, demonstrating the organization’s initiative to counter the lack of specialized geriatric care in the United States.

Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Wins National Practice Greenhealth Award for Eliminating Mercury in Its Facility

greenhealth photo, resizedMercy Health Saint Mary’s has been recognized for its efforts to eliminate mercury from the products it uses by Practice Greenhealth, the nation’s leading health care community dedicated to transforming health care worldwide so that it reduces its environmental footprint, becomes a community anchor for sustainability and a leader in the global movement for environmental health and justice.

Mercy Health Saint Mary’s was presented with the 2016 “Making Medicine Mercury-Free” Award, which designates that proven policies have been put in place to rid the facility of one of the most hazardous chemicals—mercury—and to prevent it from re-entering the facility.

The Practice Greenhealth Making Medicine Mercury-Free award recognizes facilities that have virtually eliminated mercury from their facilities and have demonstrated a commitment to continue to be mercury-free. Award criteria include mercury-free management and purchasing policies, and staff education.

“We audited the hospital to ensure we had no mercury-containing devices. Many of the thermometers or sphygmomanometers, (old blood pressure cuffs) used in the past by hospitals contained mercury, and we worked diligently to get rid of the them at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s,” said Kent Miller, Director, Environmental Services.

The germ-zapping Xenex robots introduced to Mercy Health Saint Mary’s in the summer of 2014 were especially selected by hospital leadership, as they contain no mercury or hydrogen peroxide, and stand as the only “green” technology used in automated room disinfection.

“Eliminating mercury in our daily work environment protects both our patients and staff,” said Miller. “We look forward to working with Practice Greenhealth to build on this important work to integrate more sustainable methods into our day-to-day practices.”

The Practice Greenhealth Environmental Excellence Awards were presented May 19 in Dallas, Texas at the CleanMed Conference & Exhibition, THE premier national environmental conference for leaders in health care sustainability.

About Practice Greenhealth
Practice Greenhealth is the nation’s leading health care community dedicated to transforming health care worldwide so that it reduces its environmental footprint, becomes a community anchor for sustainability and a leader in the global movement for environmental health and justice.. For more information on Practice Greenhealth, visit