As of October 20, 2022, the American College of Cardiology (ACC) has recognized Decatur County Hospital for our demonstrated expertise and commitment in treating patients with chest pain. This accreditation was awarded based on rigorous evaluation of our staff’s ability to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack. Decatur County Hospital is only the fourth hospital in Iowa to receive accreditation from ACC, and the first Critical Access Hospital in Iowa to receive Chest Pain Center Accreditation.
Mike Johnston, Decatur County Hospital CEO, reflected on this accreditation by saying, “The staff at Decatur County Hospital work hard every day to provide the best patient care possible. It is making things better for not just the individual patient, but also the community as a whole, that lies at the heart of every decision we make. Our goal over the past several years has been centered on growth – growth in the amount and availability of services we provide, growth in the overall patient experience, and growth in the quality of our care. This chest pain accreditation represents yet another step forward in that journey. While it is of singular distinction that DCH is the only critical access hospital in the state that has invested the time and resources over the previous fifteen (15) months needed to achieve this honor, our chief source of fulfillment remains the same. That is, to be here when we are needed and to remain a focal point of comfort, healing, and pride for our community.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 730,000 Americans suffer a heart attack each year. The most common symptom of a heart attack for both men and women is chest pain or discomfort. However, women are more likely to have atypical symptoms. Other heart attack symptoms include, but are not limited to, tingling or discomfort in one or both arms, back, shoulder, neck or jaw; shortness of breath; cold sweats; unusual tiredness; heartburn-like feeling; nausea or vomiting; sudden dizziness; and fainting.
Part of this certification process includes educating our community on recognizing the early signs of a heart attack, and providing resources to the community to help those who experience a cardiac event. This year, we’re donating four automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to locations throughout Decatur County which are accessible to the community. While there are many AEDs placed throughout Decatur County, more AEDs that are accessible outside of business hours are needed to provide a safety net to the community.
In June, we donated our first AED to the Lamoni Public Library. We partnered with the library to provide a family event with additional educational experiences such as hands-only CPR, early heart attack warning signs, outdoor recreation safety, fire safety, and law enforcement safety.
Last week, we presented two more AEDs. The first of these two will be installed in the Grand River Community Center. During this presentation, we showed a great group how to use an AED, and talked about hands-only CPR in the case of an emergency. We also educated the group on early heart attack warning signs. Our second donation last week (and third overall), was donated to the Leon Public Library during a community meeting. This AED will be specifically outfitted with pediatric pads in case of an emergency with a child. Our fourth AED will be donated later this year. With all four of these AEDs, Decatur County Hospital will help the host organizations to test their AEDs, replace parts when needed, and to provide ongoing training when needed.
“Decatur County Hospital has demonstrated its commitment to providing Decatur County and the surrounding region with excellent heart care,” said Deepak L. Bhatt, MD, MPH, FACC, chair of the ACC Accreditation Management Board. “ACC Accreditation Services is proud to award Decatur County Hospital with Chest Pain Center Accreditation.”
Hospitals that have earned ACC Chest Pain Center Accreditation have proven exceptional competency in treating patients with heart attack symptoms. They have streamlined their systems from admission to evaluation to diagnosis and treatment all the way through to appropriate post-discharge care and recommendations and assistance in patient lifestyle changes.
Hospitals receiving Chest Pain Center Accreditation from the ACC must take part in a multi-faceted clinical process that involves: completing a gap analysis; examining variances of care, developing an action plan; a rigorous onsite review; and monitoring for sustained success. Improved methods and strategies of caring for patients include streamlining processes, implementing of guidelines and standards, and adopting best practices in the care of patients experiencing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. Facilities that achieve accreditation meet or exceed an array of stringent criteria and have organized a team of doctors, nurses, clinicians, and other administrative staff that earnestly support the efforts leading to better patient education and improved patient outcomes.
To learn more about early heart attack warning signs, we encourage you to visit our website at www.decaturcountyhospital.org/EHAC. If you recognize any of these symptoms in someone, it is important to encourage them to seek treatment and diagnosis to confirm the cause. Seeking early treatment at the start of these symptoms is the best way to recognize a major cardiac event before it happens.
DCH is constantly evolving to meet your needs, both within the hospital and throughout the community. If you are part of a business or organization that could benefit from early heart attack awareness training, please contact Shannon Erb, Chief HR & Marketing Officer, at 641-446-2345.