The certification recognizes facilities or hospitals that are equipped to treat stroke patients with timely, evidence-based care prior to transferring them to a primary or comprehensive stroke center.

Christiana Care Health System’s Middletown Emergency Department on East Main Street (Route 299) has earned Advanced Disease-Specific Care Certification as an acute stroke ready hospital from The Joint Commission.

The certification recognizes facilities or hospitals that are equipped to treat stroke patients with timely, evidence-based care prior to transferring them to a primary or comprehensive stroke center.

“We’re proud to serve the Middletown community with this high level of care,” said Valerie Dechant, M.D., physician leader, Neuroscience Service Line. “This Acute Stroke Ready Certification recognizes the advanced care we can provide to patients suffering from a stroke who are brought to the Middletown Emergency Department. If a patient is having a stroke at the Middletown ED, the patient is provided emergent stroke care immediately and then transferred to Christiana Hospital, where our stroke team is activated, 24/7, to provide the most advanced care and expertise offering the best chance for recovery and minimizing stroke-related disabilities.”

Christiana Care is among a small number of health systems in the nation to earn three levels of certification from the Joint Commission – one for its award-winning comprehensive stroke center at Christiana Hospital, another for its primary stroke center at Wilmington Hospital, and now as an acute stroke ready hospital for the Middletown Emergency Department.

The certification represents another significant milestone for Delaware’s statewide stroke care system, which was established by law in 2016 to ensure the highest caliber of stroke care across the state through collaboration and coordination among Delaware’s hospitals, emergency responders, clinicians and the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services.

To earn the certification, the Middletown Emergency Department underwent a rigorous onsite review to assess its compliance with the Joint Commission’s advanced disease-specific care certification requirements, including:

• A dedicated stroke-focused program.

• Staffing by qualified medical professionals trained in stroke care.

• Collaboration with local emergency management agencies.

• 24/7 ability to perform rapid diagnostic and laboratory testing.

• Ability to administer intravenous clot-busting medications to eligible patients.

• Availability of video consultation from a trained vascular neurologist.

Christiana Care has earned several top achievement awards from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association for its exceptional stroke program. Since 2009, Christiana Hospital has received the AHA/ASA’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award for its commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

Since 2015, Christiana Hospital has received the association’s Target: Stroke Elite Plus Honor Roll award after meeting AHA/ASA quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with a clot-buster medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke. The stroke program has also earned national recognition for excellence from CareChex in 2018 and from Healthgrades consecutively from 2016 to 2019.

Established in 2015, acute stroke ready hospital certification is awarded for a two-year period to Joint Commission-accredited hospitals and critical access hospitals.

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States, according to the AHA/ASA. 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.

“Currently, nearly half of the population in the United States lives 60 miles or more away from a primary stroke center or comprehensive stroke center,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., American Stroke Association. “If patients who experience an acute ischemic stroke can get treated with clot-busting medications quickly, more lives would be saved and more patients would have improved outcomes.”