Saint Peter’s University Hospital Designated an Advanced Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission

April 24, 2023

Saint Peter’s University Hospital Designated an Advanced Primary Stroke Center  by The Joint Commission
New Brunswick, N.J. – April 25, 2023 – Saint Peter’s University Hospital, a member of Saint Peter’s Healthcare System, achieved certification as an advanced primary stroke center from The Joint Commission, demonstrating that the hospital has consistently met quality metrics and provided some of the best evidence-based care for its stroke patients. An advanced primary stroke center is the first line of defense in diagnosing and treating stroke and preventing or minimizing permanent brain damage to the patient.

“Time is of the essence when it comes to stroke. Being certified as an advanced primary stroke center by The Joint Commission shows how committed we are to minimizing the damage that a stroke can cause as quickly and effectively as possible,” said Roger Behar, MD, neurologist and medical director of the Stroke Program at Saint Peter’s. “Early stroke detection and treatment are key to improving survival, minimizing disability and reducing recovery times.”
High Blood Pressure and Heart Disease
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a leading cause of heart disease and the biggest risk factor for stroke because it damages the lining of the arteries, making them more susceptible to plaque buildup. The buildup narrows the arteries leading to the heart and brain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of all adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure but only a quarter of these adults have their condition under control.
“Physical activity for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, can help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of stroke,” said Maria Bartman, BSN, RN, CEN, stroke coordinator at Saint Peter’s and chair of Saint Peter’s Stroke Committee. “If 30 minutes seems too intimidating of a goal, start by doing what’s manageable based on your physical ability or schedule and build your way up.”
Proper nutrition can also reduce high blood pressure and the risk of stroke.
“For a healthier lifestyle, consume a diet that includes fish, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and is high in fiber by including fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and whole grains,” said Laura Vetter, RDN, CDCES, outpatient nutritionist at Saint Peter’s. “By reading labels and making healthy choices at the grocery store, you will incorporate nutritious foods into your diet.”
To schedule a consultation with one of Saint Peter’s registered dietitians, call 732.745.7930.
Lack of Sleep
Not getting enough sleep each night can increase the risk of stroke. The CDC reports that hypertension, stroke, coronary heart disease, and irregular heartbeats have been found to be more common among those with sleep disorders than those without sleep abnormalities. Having trouble sleeping?
The Center for Sleep and Breathing Disorders at Saint Peter’s University Hospital offers testing, diagnosis, and treatment for sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea. Schedule an appointment by calling 732.745.8564.
Tobacco Use
Smoking tobacco increases the risk of stroke. Quitting is one of the most effective ways to improve health and quality of life. Saint Peter’s tobacco cessation specialists are here to help people make a life-changing and life-saving decision.
Ready to break the habit? Call Saint Peter’s tobacco cessation line at 732-339-7848.
Adults with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke compared to others. The Thyroid and Diabetes Center at Saint Peter’s is comprised of a multidisciplinary team led by dedicated endocrinologists with expertise in diabetes who offer individualized treatment plans for each patient with diabetes, including diabetes self-management education* and nutrition recommendations from the Center’s certified diabetes educators.
To make an appointment at Saint Peter’s Thyroid and Diabetes Center, call 732.745.6667.
In the event of a stroke, remember to BE FAST:
B – Balance: Is the person having trouble with balance or coordination?
E – Eyes: Is the person experiencing blurred or double vision or a loss of vision?
F – Face Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
A – Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Does one arm drift downward if the person raises their arms?
S – Speech Difficulty: Is the person’s speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like, “The grass is green.”
T – Time to call 911: If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms subside, call 911 and get them to the hospital immediately.
To read more about Saint Peter’s stroke services, please visit
The American Diabetes Association Recognizes this education service as meeting the National Standards for Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support.

About Saint Peter’s University Hospital
Saint Peter’s University Hospital, a member of Saint Peter’s Healthcare System, is a 478-bed acute-care teaching hospital sponsored by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen. Saint Peter’s, which received its sixth consecutive designation as a Magnet® hospital for nursing excellence by the American Nurses Credentialing Center in 2020, is a state-designated children’s hospital and a regional perinatal center, and is a regional specialist in diabetes, gastroenterology, head and neck surgery, oncology, orthopedics, and women’s services. Saint Peter’s is the recipient of the Beacon Award for Excellence from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses for the adult intensive care unit, neonatal intensive care unit, cardiac progressive care unit, and the pediatric intensive care unit. The Children’s Hospital at Saint Peter’s University Hospital provides families with access to a full range of pediatric specialties, including a nationally recognized Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, pediatric surgery and orthopedic surgery featuring innovative anterior scoliosis correction. The hospital offers a midwifery service and the brand-new state-of-the-art Mary V. O’Shea Birth Center. Saint Peter’s is a sponsor of residency programs in obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, and internal medicine, and is a major clinical affiliate of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. Visit or call 732.745.8600.

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