June 17, 2024
Annapolis, US 85 F

Pittman: Anne Arundel is “Stroke Smart”

County Executive Steuart Pittman visited UM Baltimore Washington Medical Center (UM BWMC) recently to recognize the hospital’s high-quality stroke care provided to residents of Anne Arundel County. The County Executive presented UM BWMC with a proclamation for stroke care initiatives and designated Anne Arundel County as “Stroke Smart” due to the level of care offered by its hospitals.

“With 1 in 6 people having a stroke in their lifetime, this May, I encourage all county agencies, schools, health and safety-focused entities, businesses, and community organizations to participate in improving stroke literacy,” Pittman said. “I hereby proclaim May 2023 as National Stroke Awareness Month in Anne Arundel County and call upon all of our residents to recognize and educate themselves and others about the symptoms of stroke.” 

“At UM BWMC, we are focused on educating the community about stroke awareness and making sure people can quickly recognize the signs of a stroke and call 911 to get the prompt, expert care,” said Kathy McCollum, President and CEO of UM BWMC. “By collaborating with Anne Arundel County, local hospitals, county EMS and other health care partners, we are working together to deliver better health outcomes to all county residents in a way that is fair and equitable.”

To earn the “Stroke Smart” designation, hospitals must meet certain standards of care outlined by the American Stroke Association and Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) that demonstrates the organization’s ability to provide life-saving treatment to patients who may have suffered a stroke. 

With a stroke, doctors often say that “time is brain,” meaning that every second lost could mean loss of brain function. In 2021, UM BWMC’s stroke team received a Maryland Patient Safety Center Minogue Circle of Honor Award for its “SWARM” program, an initiative designed to streamline administering blood clot-busting drug therapy to stroke patients within 60 minutes or less upon arrival. The team also recently piloted the use of a new blood-cutting drug with ischemic stroke patients that had shown promise in outside, peer-reviewed clinical trials. The team administered this new drug to willing participants within 60 minutes of their arrival at the hospital and showed that patients who received this medication experienced fewer complications than stroke patients who received a different drug upon arrival.

“By treating acute stroke patients with clot-busting drugs within the critical time after stroke symptoms begin, permanent disability can be reduced by more than 30%,” said Theresa Maloney, RN and Stroke Coordinator at UM BWMC. “The sooner patients can get medical attention following the onset of stroke symptoms, the greater their chances of surviving with no permanent disability.” 

UM BWMC is also certified as a Primary Stroke Center by both MIEMSS and the Joint Commission and has been recognized with the Gold Plus designation from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association’s Get with the Guidelines–Stroke program for the past four years. In 2021 and 2022, U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals ratings also honored UM BWMC as “High Performing” in stroke care. 

UM BWMC offers several recovery programs that support stroke patients after an event, including rehabilitation, support groups, and yoga classes designed specifically to restore strength and brain function. Visit UM BWMC’s website to learn more about UM BWMC’s stroke program and resources.

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