Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) stroke service has become the first of its kind in the Middle East to be accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI).

Managing Director of HMC, Hanan Al Kuwari, PhD, expressed her delight at the accreditation and said:

Everyone involved with the delivery of stroke care at HMC is very proud to be accredited by JCI. This prestigious accreditation recognises our stroke service as being among the best in the world. The improvements in care for stroke patients have been made possible only through the teamwork and commitment of staff across a range of services and are perfect examples of collaborative work.’

JCI accreditation is based on quality and safety across all clinical and management functions and is considered the gold standard in global healthcare. All HMC’s network of hospitals, as well as the Ambulance Service and Home Healthcare Service, have been accredited by JCI.

Director of the Neurosciences Institute, Professor Ashfaq Shuaib, highlighted the multi-disciplinary care by saying:

Effective care for stroke patients relies on a number of service areas across multiple facilities working in unison. The Ambulance Service has consistently met its National Health Strategy response targets in recent times, meaning stroke patients arrive as quickly as possible at the hospital. Our radiology teams ensure fast, advanced diagnosis, utilizing state-of-the-art imaging technology to capture high quality scans, while our rehabilitation teams provide specialist care for stroke patients, ensuring they recover as quickly and fully as possible.’

Stroke is one of the leading causes of mortality and the number one cause of chronic disability in the world. Due to the high prevalence in Qatar’s population of many risk factors for stroke – including diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension and inactivity – the incidence of stroke is high.

The JCI accreditation follows significant recent improvements in care for stroke patients, with the opening of a dedicated stroke ward at Hamad General Hospital in March 2014 playing a key role in these improvements. The multi-disciplinary nature of the care has contributed greatly to ensuring stroke patients in Qatar receive the safest, most effective and compassionate care.

The extensive team involved in the treatment for each stroke patient is central to the multi-disciplinary care patients receive. Stroke neurologists, rehabilitation physicians, stroke nurses, allied health professionals, stroke coordinators and clinical nurse specialists all provide their expertise to shape the treatment plan according to each patient’s individual needs.

The improvements in care include a reduction in the average length of stay (LOS) for stroke patients throughout this year. The shorter LOS demonstrates the effective nature of the care being given. Additionally, the percentage of patients receiving thrombolysis treatment has significantly increased since 2013. This is an important improvement in stroke care as thrombolysis is a very effective treatment that can greatly increase a patient’s chances of making a full recovery, but it must be given within 4.5 hours of the onset of symptoms.

For stroke patients ‘Time is Brain’, meaning the faster treatment can be given following a stroke, the better the chances of a full recovery. If you suspect that you, or someone around you, have suffered a stroke, call 999 immediately so HMC’s care teams can respond. The sooner you act from the onset of symptoms, the better the chance that medical intervention can protect you.