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New stroke rehabilitation certification to help improve care at skilled nursing facilities

(NewMediaWire) - February 06, 2024 - DALLAS — Stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability in the U.S. and approximately 795,000 people each year experience a new or recurrent stroke, according to the American Heart Association’s 2023 statistical update. A new certification offered by the American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary organization focused on heart and brain health for all, can help skilled nursing facilities support faster and more effective recovery from stroke through standardized coordination, adherence and implementation of evidence-based care.

The new Skilled Nursing Facility Stroke Rehabilitation Certification provides a framework for evaluating skilled nursing facilities against the American Heart Association’s rigorous science-based requirements for stroke rehabilitation, including program management, patient and caregiver education and support, care coordination, clinical management and quality improvement.

“Participation in this certification benefits the patient and the facility by standardizing care practices,” said Pamela Duncan, PhD, PT, FAPTA, FAHA, volunteer chair of the American Heart Association’s Skilled Nursing Facility Stroke Rehabilitation Certification Oversight Workgroup. “When there are evidence-based processes during every phase of care, patients have the best opportunity for positive outcomes. This certification will help patients and their loved ones choose a facility that follows these important best practices.”

As the Association celebrates 100 years of service in 2024, this new certification demonstrates its commitment to improving people’s futures.

This certification was developed as the result of an initiative funded by The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to develop and implement American Heart Association Post-Acute Stroke Care Quality Standards program in rehabilitation facilities. 

To be eligible for this certification, freestanding skilled nursing facilities or swing beds in critical access hospitals must be in the United States or a U.S. territory and implement a stroke rehabilitation program that uses a standardized method of delivering clinical care based on current evidence-based guidelines. Learn more about this certification and others at

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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 a century. During 2024 - our Centennial year - we celebrate our rich 100-year history and accomplishments. As we forge ahead into our second century of bold discovery and impact our vision is to advance health and hope for everyone, everywhere. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookX or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1. 

About The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional efforts in the U.S. and around the world in health and select place-based initiatives. Since beginning active grantmaking in 2008, Helmsley has committed more than $4 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. Helmsley’s Rural Healthcare Program funds innovative projects that use information technologies to connect rural patients to emergency medical care, bring the latest medical therapies to patients in remote areas, and provide state-of-the-art training for rural hospitals and EMS personnel. To date, this program has awarded more than $600 million to organizations and initiatives in the states of Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. For more information, visit

For Media Inquiries: 214-706-1173

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For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721) and