January 30, 2015
Fauquier Hospital received full accreditation status as a Chest Pain Center from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC) on December 12. The three-year accreditation from SCPC is the result of the rigorous evaluation of Fauquier Hospital’s ability to assess, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack.
The accreditation assures that processes are in place aimed at: reducing the time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis and treatment; treating patients more quickly during the critical window of time when the integrity of the heart muscle can be preserved; and monitoring patients when it is not certain that they are having a heart attack, to ensure that they are not sent home too quickly or needlessly admitted to the hospital.
Michael Jenks, M.D. chief of the Fauquier Hospital Emergency Department, explained, "Hospitals that have received SCPC accreditation have achieved a higher level of expertise in dealing with patients who arrive with symptoms of a heart attack. They emphasize the importance of standardized diagnostic and treatment programs that provide more efficient and effective evaluation, as well as more appropriate and rapid treatment of patients with chest pain and other heart attack symptoms. The accreditation process has been a long and worthwhile process that has involved every one of our hospital departments."
Rodger Baker, CEO and president of Fauquier Health, added, "Our clinicians and support staff have done an amazing job, examining our protocols and processes to make sure that folks who come to our Emergency Department with chest pain are treated quickly and effectively. This accreditation comes after more than a year of focused work in chest pain care."
Key areas in which an Accredited Chest Pain Center must demonstrate expertise include:
Integrating the emergency department with the local emergency medical system
Assessing, diagnosing and treating patients quickly
Effectively treating patients with low risk for acute coronary syndrome and no assignable cause for their symptoms
Continually seeking to improve processes and procedures Ensuring the competence and training of Accredited Chest Pain Center personnel
Maintaining organizational structure and commitment
Having a functional design that promotes optimal patient care
Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States, with 600,000 people dying annually of heart disease. More than five million Americans visit hospitals each year with chest pain. Another important aim of the SCPC accreditation is to significantly reduce the mortality rate of these patients by teaching the public -- through community outreach programs -- to recognize and react to the early symptoms of a possible heart attack.
Dr. Jenks added, "People tend to wait when they think they might be having a heart attack, and that’s a mistake. The average patient arrives in the emergency department more than two hours after the onset of symptoms, but what they don’t realize is that the sooner a heart attack is treated, the less damage to the heart and the better the outcome for the patient. With our new accreditation, we hope to bring more attention to this and help even more people in Fauquier County."
Part of LifePoint Hospitals®, Fauquier Hospital is one of 23 of the system’s hospitals that have achieved SCPC accreditation in 2014 as part of a company-wide commitment to enhancing quality and ensuring excellent service and care in the emergency department.