ST. JOSEPH — Spectrum Health Lakeland has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With the Guidelines Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award.

The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines, according to a news release.

Lakeland earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability.

Before discharge, patients also should receive education on managing their health, schedule a follow-up visit, and other care transition interventions.

Lakeland also received the association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA – the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke.

Lakeland has been stroke certified for more than a decade, and has achieved Gold Plus status for the past five years, according to Chris Fox, director of nursing and executive director of clinical care services for Lakeland.

“Through our multi-disciplinary team approach,” he said in the release, “we have achieved high-level results in most all measures that matter most for stroke patients, including 75 percent of our patients receiving life-saving tPA medication within 60 minutes or less upon arriving at the hospital.”

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death, and a leading cause of adult disability, in the United States.

On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.