The American College of Cardiology recently confirmed that Mountain West Medical Center is a chest pain accredited hospital.
“We are one of 700 hospitals in the United States that is chest pain accredited. We have to reach certain milestones and standards to continue to be accredited,” said Pam Giles, registered nurse and the hospital’s accreditation specialist. “For example EKGs must be completed within 10 minutes and labs done in 15 minutes.”
There are 6,210 hospitals in the United States, according to the American Hospital Association.
This week is Heart Failure Awareness Week sponsored by the Heart Failure Society of America to increase awareness of the severity and complications of heart disease.
Hospital staff, volunteers, hospital board members gathered outside for Go Red for Women Day on Feb. 1. Each February the hospital places additional emphasis on heart health.
“The hospital wants to do a good job. We want to do what’s best for the patient and in order to do that we are always looking at ways to improve. We look at all the metrics and have rules we need to follow to make us better at patient care,” Giles said.
Marketing Director Becky Trigg said the accreditation processes ensure the hospital is accountable to national safety standards and other important criteria.
Giles said the hospital has been chest pain accredited for about nine years. She said people need to be aware of the symptoms of a heart attack.
The American Heart Association reports that most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. Shortness of breath, breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness can be other symptoms.
“Women can present symptoms a little differently than men. Simple indigestion and fatigue can be symptoms,” Giles said.
“A very important thing we want to emphasize — Do not drive yourself or a family member to the hospital.,” Giles said. “We’re a small town and in the past people used to jump in their cars and drive right to the ER doors. It is extremely important to call 911 if someone thinks they are having a heart attack.”
An entire team of healthcare professionals jump into action when a person calls 911, according to Giles.
Ronette Sharp, assistant accreditation specialist, said MWMC’s Emergency Medical Services is more than a transportation service.
“They are trained and have the proper medications to save a heart muscle, and that’s a big deal,” Sharp said. “The have the ability to transmit EKGs from the field.”
Giles said that as soon as a vein gets blocked then that part of the heart starts dying and you want to get it opened up as soon as possible.
Doctors, nurses and other specialists coordinate and quick decisions are made as soon as an emergency call is received.
“If a patient needs to come here and be stabilized it happens,” Giles said. “A patient can also be taken directly to Salt Lake to the cath lab.”
She said it is a good feeling as a nurse to have a solid team around her in the ER.
“I know I’ve got to get things done and my team is right there with me,” Giles said. “It’s non-verbal. Everybody just does their job and that is a good feeling.”
People should know their own risk factors such as smoking, a family history of cardiac issues, physical activity levels, diabetes and obesity, according to Giles.
The ACC, based in Washington D.C., is a non-profit medical association established in 1949. It bestows credentials upon cardiovascular specialists who meet its qualifications. Education is a core component of the College, which also states it is active in the formulation of health policy and a supporter of cardiovascular research.