People with strokes caused by blood clots fared better in hospitals participating in the Get With The Guidelines-Stroke program according to a study presented at the American Heart Association's Quality of Care and Outcomes Research Scientific Sessions 2013.
"We found that stroke patients treated in Get With The Guidelines hospitals were less likely to die or end up back in the hospital than those treated at other closely-matched hospitals not in the program," said Sarah Song, M.D., M.P.H., study lead author and an assistant professor of neurology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. "Previous studies have shown Get With The Guidelines hospitals improved the way they cared for people, but this is the first to show how the changes affected patient recovery."
The researchers compared 366 hospitals that joined the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get With The Guidelines-Stroke program in April 2004-December 2007 with 366 that did not. They matched facilities by size, geographic setting, teaching status, number of strokes treated and patient characteristics. Comparing the periods before and after hospitals joined Get With The Guidelines, the researchers found participating hospitals improved their 30-day and one-year death rates and 30-day and one-year re-hospitalization rates. During the same time, the non-participating hospitals only improved 30-day death rates.
Get With The Guidelines-Stroke hospitals also had higher rates of discharging patients directly home rather than to a care facility.
More than 2,000 hospitals participate in the association's multiple Get With the Guidelines programs, which provide resources and tools to help healthcare teams follow the latest research-based treatment guidelines.
Explore further: Study: Stroke victims not receiving timely diagnosis, care