LMC Earns “Gold Plus” Stroke Award

For the fifth time, Lexington Medical Center has received a “Gold Plus” Quality Achievement award for stroke care from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke program. The “Gold Plus” award is the highest honor bestowed to hospitals for stroke care and recognizes commitment and success in implementing excellent care for stroke patients.

“Lexington Medical Center is proud to receive this award as it demonstrates our commitment to being one of the top hospitals in the country for providing effective, evidence-based stroke care,” said Vicky Hicks, RN, BSN, CPHQ, outcomes coordinator at Lexington Medical Center.

www.heart.org_idc_groups_heart-public__private__wcm__hcm__gwtg_documents_downloadable_ucm_461524.pdfThe honor goes to hospitals with excellent adherence to stroke quality indicators and measures for two or more consecutive years, including timely treatment, aggressive use of proven medications, therapy, cholesterol reducing drugs and smoking cessation, all aimed at reducing death and disability, and improving the lives of stroke patients.
According to the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, stroke is one of the leading causes of death and serious, long-term disability in the United States. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

A stroke occurs when a clot blocks a blood vessel carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs and begins to die. Warning signs include weakness on one side of the body, slurred speech, facial drooping, confusion and the inability to talk. Risk factors for stroke are untreated high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and high cholesterol. Stroke is an emergency. Call 911 at the first sign of stroke. Modifying your lifestyle can help prevent stroke.

stroke“Recent studies show that patients treated in hospitals participating in the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke program receive a higher quality of care and may experience better outcomes,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., chair of the Get With The Guidelines® National Steering Committee and director of the TeleStroke and Acute Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “Lexington Medical Center’s team is to be commended for their commitment to improving the care of their patients.”

Lexington Medical Center also has certification from Det Norske Veritas Healthcare, Inc. as a Primary Stroke Center in the Midlands. The Certification Program for Primary Stroke Centers recognizes organizations that follow the best practices for stroke care. Achieving Primary Stroke Center Certification indicates the hospital’s dedication to cultivating better outcomes for patients.

May is Stroke Month. Think FAST to remember the warning signs of stroke.

Face – Look for an uneven smile.
Arm – Check if one arm is weak.
Speech – Has speech become difficult?
Time – Call 9-1-1 immediately.

Calling It Quits

Angel Pownall started smoking cigarettes when she was 18 years old because, like many people, her friends smoked.

Her habit grew to a pack a day. She quit during pregnancies, but started again after having her two children. Now in her 30s, the Lexington wife and mom knew she needed to quit for good.

“I didn’t want my kids to see me smoke, because I worried they might start smoking,” she said. “And I didn’t want to get lung cancer, have my life cut short and be taken away from them.”

Angel PownallLast year, she learned about a smoking-cessation class offered at Lexington Medical Center’s community medical center in Lexington and signed up.

Lisa Lewis, an RN for Cardiac Rehabilitation at LMC Lexington, initiated the program, which started in January 2013, with one goal in mind – help others to quit smoking. She received her certification from the American Lung Association as a tobacco-cessation facilitator and began to build a program.

The smoking-cessation program at LMC Lexington meets once a week for two hours and lasts eight weeks. It is open to anyone who wants to quit smoking, and because of a generous grant from the LMC Foundation, there is no cost to participate.

Since its inception, the smoking-cessation program at LMC Lexington has achieved a completion rate of 49%, which is above the national average, and 31% of those who completed the program have remained tobacco free.

The program doesn’t end with the completion of the eight-week course. Lewis and her team check on each participant at 30-, 90-, 180- and 365-day intervals for the first year. The American Lung Association also invited Lewis to become a facilitator trainer, which is a role usually reserved for its employees. LMC Lexington now has a team of five tobacco-cessation facilitators.

“It was refreshing to talk to people who knew what it was like to be a smoker and understood how hard it was to quit,” Angel said. “It was very supportive.”

Angel has a success story. She has not smoked a cigarette since completing the Lexington Medical Center smoking-cessation program. And she feels great.

“I don’t feel as tired or worn down. My skin looks better. My hair and clothes don’t smell like cigarettes anymore. I saw a chance to turn things around – and I’m so glad that I did.”

If you or someone you know wants to quit smoking and participate in Lexington Medical Center’s smoking-cessation program, please call (803) 358-6180.

The Lexington Medical Center Foundation provides important programs and services that help people in our community, including cancer patients. Please consider giving to the Lexington Medical Center Foundation during the Central Carolina Community Foundation’s “Midlands Gives” challenge on May 5. Learn more at MidlandsGives.org.

LMC Opens First Cardiac Rehabilitation Program in Irmo

With a strong commitment to meeting the needs of heart patients in our community, Lexington Medical Center has opened a new, state-of-the-art cardiac rehabilitation program on the Lexington Medical Center Irmo campus. The 2,500 square foot facility located inside the Irmo Medical Park at 7033 St. Andrews Rd. is the first cardiac rehabilitation facility in the Irmo area.

Cardiac Rehabilitation is a medically supervised program designed to optimize a cardiac patient’s physical, psychological and social functioning, in addition to stabilizing, slowing or even reversing the progression of cardiovascular disease.

People who benefit from cardiac rehabilitation include patients with a history of heart attack, angioplasty or stenting, heart valve surgery, heart transplant, angina, heart failure or heart bypass surgery.

Mark Stout inside LMC's Cardiac Rehabilitation facility in Irmo

Mark Stout inside LMC’s Cardiac Rehabilitation facility in Irmo

Studies show that cardiac rehabilitation participants experience a 31 to 46 percent reduction in death rates compared to non-participants. They also have a reduction in symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath and fatigue. And they report increased energy, improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, quicker returns to work and leisure activities, and a lower chance of experiencing another cardiac event.

“We’re bringing a great service to the people of the Irmo community,” said Mark Stout, supervisor of Cardiac Rehabilitation in Irmo. “If it’s more convenient, patients will attend more often. The medical professionals with expertise in cardiac rehabilitation are close to your home and your activities.”

Lexington Medical Center has offered cardiac rehabilitation at the main hospital in West Columbia for more than 20 years and at the hospital’s community medical center in Lexington since 2002.

Along with closely monitored exercise training, there are education classes addressing topics such as heart disease risk factors, healthy nutrition, weight management, controlling blood pressure and cholesterol, managing diabetes, and understanding stress and your emotions.

“Cardiac rehabilitation provides better outcomes and better quality of life,” Stout said.

The need for heart care is clear in our state and our community. In South Carolina, one out of every three deaths is related to cardiovascular disease.

For more information about Cardiac Rehabilitation at Lexington Medical Center, visit LexMed.com/heart.