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Ready for Emergency Stroke Care

Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital earns The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval and the American Stroke Association’s Heart-Check Mark for Primary Stroke Certification

Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital has received Primary Stroke Center designation from the Joint Commission—a nonprofit accrediting body for healthcare organizations and programs—and the American Stroke Association. The designation certifies the hospital’s readiness to provide evaluation and emergency care for stroke patients beyond what is available at the average hospital.

“This designation helps stroke patients receive treatment more quickly and keeps them in the community so they can have their follow-up care nearby, and so it is easier for their families and loved ones to visit them during the stroke hospital stay if there are no higher-level stroke treatment needs. It is a way of formalizing stroke systems-based practice,” said Shlee Song, MD, director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center and the Telestroke Program at Cedars-Sinai and Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital.

Stroke, which occurs when blood flow in the brain is disrupted because a blood vessel is either blocked by a clot or bursts, is a leading cause of disability and the No. 5 cause of death in the U.S., according to the American Stroke Association.

“We have plans and processes in place to treat stroke patients with thrombolytic therapy, giving a drug that can bust up the clot causing the stroke, and we have capacity to care for stroke patients in our intensive care unit,” said Maya Kallay Lewis, RN, stroke program manager at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital.

Stroke patients at Marina del Rey Hospital also have access to the expertise and capabilities at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, which is a Comprehensive Stroke Center, the highest level of stroke certification.

When a suspected stroke patient arrives, the Marina del Rey team sends out a “code stroke” alert and a stroke consultant from the medical center is immediately brought to the patient’s bedside via live video.

“Through our Telestroke Program, if a stroke code emergency is identified by any Marina team member, they call for our help and we get on the camera immediately and examine the patient with the help of the Marina del Rey bedside nurse,” Song said. “The Marina team works in tandem with us, getting the imaging that we need to make decisions regarding next steps. And if the patient needs higher-level care, we’ve worked very hard to make the transfer to the medical center seamless with our Transfer Center Team.”

The stroke designation was achieved through a years-long step-by-step process that Song said kicked into high gear when Lewis joined the Marina team in 2018. One key to achieving the stroke designation was to create plans for consistent care of stroke patients.

“We had to implement systems to ensure we are able to handle those emergency admissions 24/7,” Song said. “The stroke team at Marina del Rey Hospital created support tools to make sure the hospitalists admitting patients on the weekend are following the same guidelines as physicians would during the week, and those protocols are now in place so that our whole hospital system is ready to take care of the needs of those patients.”

Making forward progress often required the stroke team to be resourceful. Cedars-Sinai is currently renovating Marina del Rey Hospital, with construction targeted for completion around 2026.

“The state-of-the art community hospital we’ll have once construction is finished will include new facilities with imaging capabilities to help us with complex stroke cases, and many other improvements,” said Joanne Laguna-Kennedy, MSN, RN, vice president and chief operating officer at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital. “As renovations continue, the stroke team has done an incredible job securing this designation and delivering excellent patient care with the resources at hand.”

Read more on the Cedars-Sinai Blog: Video Allows Neurologists to See Stroke Patients ASAP