To improve quality and to overcome the wide discrepancies in stroke care both within- and between European countries, the European Stroke Organisation Executive Committee initiated in 2007 activities to establish certification processes for stroke units and stroke centres. The rapidly expanding evidence base in stroke care provided the mandate for the European Stroke Organisation Stroke Unit-Committee to develop certification procedures for stroke units and stroke centres with the goals of setting standards for stroke treatment in Europe, improving quality and minimising variation. The purpose of this article is to present the certification criteria and the auditing process for stroke units and stroke centres that aim to standardise and harmonise care for stroke patients, and hence become members of the European Stroke Organisation Stroke Unit and Stroke Centre network. Standardised application forms and guidelines for national and international auditors have been developed and updated by members of the European Stroke Organisation Stroke Unit-Committee. Key features are availability of trained personnel, diagnostic equipment, acute treatment and collaboration with other stroke-caregivers. After submission, the application is reviewed by one national and two international auditors. Based on their reports, the Stroke Unit-Committee will make a final decision. Validating on-site visits for a subset of stroke units and stroke centres are planned. We herein describe a novel, European Stroke Organisation-based online certification process of stroke units and stroke centres. This is a major step forward towards high-quality stroke care across Europe. The additional value by connecting high-quality European Stroke Organisation Stroke Unit and Stroke Centre is facilitation of future collaboration and research activities, enabling building and maintenance of a high-quality stroke care network in Europe.

Additional Metadata
Keywords European Stroke Organisation Stroke Unit, European Stroke Organisation Stroke Centre, collaboration, high-quality stroke care
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1177/2396987318778971, hdl.handle.net/1765/114128
Journal European Stroke Journal
Citation
Waje-Andreassen, U., Nabavi, D.G, Engelter, S.T, Dippel, D.W.J, Jenkinson, D, Skoda, O, … Lyrer, P.A. (2018). European Stroke Organisation certification of stroke units and stroke centres. European Stroke Journal, 3(3), 220–226. doi:10.1177/2396987318778971