Post-acute stroke initiative to invest $1.5M across facilities in three Mountain states

The American Heart Association has launched an $1.5 million initiative to improve post-acute stroke care across Montana, Nebraska and North Dakota, including skilled nursing facilities.

The program will offer the new American Heart Association Post-Acute Stroke Care Quality Standards program to all urban and rural rehabilitation facilities across the three states, with funding provided by The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, AHA announced Thursday. 

“Adoption of the program will maximize recovery of function lost during a stroke, reduce risk of secondary effects and extend high quality guideline-directed care for all patients across their full stroke journey,” AHA stated.

The program is the implementation of the AHA’s Mission: Lifeline Stroke initiative, which launched in 2018 in an effort to more smoothly connect the components of acute stroke care to improve stroke patients’ long-term outcomes. Along with LTC settings, facilities who participate in the new project may include rehabilitation hospitals and critical access hospitals. 

Closing care gaps

The new initiative will help healthcare providers offer up-to-date evidenced-based care “to improve recovery and reduce disability after experiencing a stroke,” said Joel Stein, MD, volunteer co-chair of the Association’s standards writing committee and physiatrist-in-chief and chair of the Department of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in Irving, CA. 

“Targeted, high-quality post-stroke rehabilitation interventions, customized to patient needs, can dramatically improve recovery of function lost during a stroke, but current gaps in the system of care can lead to high rates of hospital readmissions, variability in care coordination and sub-optimal outcomes for patients,” he said.

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