DES MOINES, Iowa, May 24, 2023 - Eight health care facilities across Iowa will participate in the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline Stroke Post-Acute Care (PAC) initiative to enhance guideline-based care for stroke patients, ultimately improving and prolonging lives.

Stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of long-term disability in the U.S. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts, ultimately causing brain cells to die. Early stroke detection and treatment are key to improving survival, minimizing disability and accelerating recovery times.

Over 90% of stroke patients experience some form of disability and more than 11% suffer a second stroke within a year. Targeted, high-quality post-stroke recovery, rehabilitation and secondary prevention interventions dramatically improve recovery of and reduce the risk of secondary effects after a stroke.

“The hospitals and rehabilitation facilities taking part in the Mission: Lifeline Stroke Post-Acute Care initiative are committed to improving care for stroke patients by adhering to the latest guidelines,” said Madeline Pawloski, a health care quality program consultant for the American Heart Association. “The Post-Acute Care standards initiative makes it easier for these facilities to put proven knowledge and guidelines to work on a daily basis, which studies show can help patients recover better. The end goal is to ensure more people can experience longer, healthier lives.”

The PAC facilities in Iowa joining this initiative, which runs through June 2025, include:

  • Guttenberg Municipal Hospital (Guttenberg)
  • Hearthstone WesleyLife (Pella)
  • Jackson County Regional Health Center (Maquoketa)
  • Mary Greely Medical Center (Ames)
  • Midlands Living Center (Council Bluffs)
  • On With Life (Ankeny)
  • UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s (Sioux City)
  • University of Iowa Health Network Rehabilitation Hospital (Coralville)

The American Heart Association, a global force for healthier lives for all, developed quality standards based on the Association’s 2016 Guidelines for Adult Stroke Rehabilitation and Recovery to address gaps and standardize stroke rehabilitation among sites where post-acute care is delivered. 

Facilities participating in the PAC standards initiative receive a stipend, site-specific quality improvement support and process improvement ideas surrounding quality standards for stroke recovery, rehabilitation and secondary prevention. Facilities also take part in learning collaboratives, working with experts to build stroke rehabilitation tools and developing best practices.

Participation improves collaboration between PAC facilities and others involved in stroke care, including hospitals and outpatient providers.

Mission: Lifeline Stroke is the American Heart Association’s community-based initiative to develop systems of care to improve outcomes for stroke patients. The program launched in Iowa in July 2022 with the support of a $7.5 million grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

The goal of Mission: Lifeline Stroke is to bring together hospitals, emergency medical services and first responders, rehabilitation facilities, communications and regulatory agencies, state and local government, and payers to forge a proactive system of stroke care that saves and improves lives.


About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.  

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