August 20th, 2018

GWTG_Bronze_2018As the Stroke and Heart Failure Navigator at Grand View Health, Karen Lynott, MSN, RN, is well aware of the link between atrial fibrillation (AFib)—a fast, irregular heartbeat—and stroke. She also knows there is a link between AFib and heart failure.

That’s why Lynott established a team of cardiac nurses, cardiac rehabilitation nurses and cardiologists. Together they developed education packets to help patients understand AFib, signs and symptoms of AFib, ways to manage it, and ways to reduce their risk of AFib and stroke. The team also developed and implemented in-hospital clinical assessments for AFib, which help to determine appropriate medical management.

The team’s efforts helped Grand View receive national recognition. The hospital was recently awarded the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Get With The Guidelines®-AFIB Bronze Quality Achievement Award for implementing specific quality improvement measures outlined by AHA guidelines for the management of patients with AFib. Grand View Health is one of only two hospitals in Eastern Pa. to have AFib recognition from the AHA.

Grand View Health earned the award for maintaining the quality measures over a designated time period. The measures include appropriate testing and medication prescribing. Treatment is focused on aggressive risk reduction therapies to prevent stroke, stabilize heart rate and rhythm, and treat heart disease. Before discharge, patients receive education on AFib, medication management and the need for follow-up care.

“For our community, this award is a big deal,” said Lynott. “Providing the best evidence-based care for our patients will improve their quality of life and prevent complications from this disease.”

“We are pleased to recognize Grand View Health for their commitment to atrial fibrillation 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.”

According to the AHA, more than 2.7 million adults suffer from AFib. The condition accounts for about one-third of hospitalizations for cardiac rhythm disturbance and is associated with a five-fold increase risk of stroke. Proper AFib treatment can reduce these risks.