Back to articles

Sjch’s Stroke Center Receives American Heart/Stroke Association’s Gold-Plus/Target: Stroke Honor Roll Award; New Stroke Education Partnership Announced

Awards & Recognition

Once again, San Joaquin Community Hospital (SJCH) was the site of another health care achievement award, more accolades and the announcement of a new community partnership.

The Stroke Center at SJCH received the Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold-Plus Quality Achievement Award for implementing specific quality improvement measures outlined by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association for the treatment of stroke patients.

Get With The Guidelines Stroke helps hospital teams provide the most up-to-date, research-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. SJCH’s Stroke Center 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 measures include aggressive use of medications and risk-reduction therapies aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.

SJCH also received the association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll for meeting stroke quality measures that reduce the time between hospital arrival and treatment with the clot-buster, tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke. People who suffer a stroke who receive the drug within three hours of the onset of symptoms may recover quicker and are less likely to suffer severe disability.

“The Stroke Center at SJCH is dedicated to improving the quality of stroke care and The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines–Stroke helps us achieve that goal,” said Michelle Hartshorn, director of the Brain & Spine Institute at SJCH. “With this award, our hospital demonstrates our commitment to ensure that our patients receive care based on internationally-respected clinical guidelines.”

Get With The Guidelines–Stroke also helps SJCH’s staff implement prevention measures, which include educating stroke patients to manage their risk factors and to be aware of warning signs for stroke, and ensuring they take their medications properly. Hospitals can make customized patient education materials available upon discharge, based on the patients’ individual risk profiles. The take-away materials are written in an easy-to-understand format in either English or Spanish.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the number four cause of death and a leading cause of adult 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.

The statistics on strokes in Kern County are even more daunting, which is why SJCH and the American Heart/Stroke Association have announced a new, exclusive community partnership called “Together to End Stroke.”

The new campaign will aim to educate the community that strokes are preventable, beatable and treatable. People will learn about the symptoms of a stroke, how to prevent them from happening and how to mitigate their risks of stroke.

The three-year sponsorship agreement between SJCH and the American Heart/Stroke Association will include special community events focusing on stroke education and prevention efforts.

About Get With the Guidelines

Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that provides hospitals with the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal of saving lives and hastening recovery, Get With The Guidelines has touched the lives of more than 4 million patients since 2001. For more information, visit or