Stroke Care: From Diagnosis to Support

For a Hagerstown resident, having a continuum of stroke care in her own community is comforting. At age 66, Judy Semler has suffered two strokes. Her last stroke occurred while she was recovering from a broken elbow.

“The stroke hit my right arm and my arm flew up in the air,” says Judy. The entire right side of her body was affected. Once in Meritus Medical Center’s emergency department, a CAT screen indicated that Judy suffered a stroke. Neurologist Samina Anwar, M.D., confirmed the finding and admitted Judy to the hospital’s dedicated stroke unit where she was closely monitored by the specially trained nursing staff.

Judy’s recovery included a stay in Meritus Medical Center’s inpatient rehabilitation unit which recently received a three-year accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities or CARF. There Judy received physical and occupational therapy and performed daily living activities in a home-like setting.

“The staff made me feel so welcome and they were so giving,” says Judy. “You really have to try hard in therapy, but my therapists helped make each day better.” Judy transitioned from using a walker to a cane and was discharged from the hospital 13 days after suffering a stroke.

Once at home, Judy continued her rehabilitation with help from Meritus Home Health. Today, Judy is an active member of the Meritus Health stroke support group. The program connects people to other stroke survivors and challenges them to persevere over limitations.

“We share feelings and experiences and give each other tips on how to cope,” says Judy. “It really opens your eyes to what other people are going through.” A stroke care specialist who is a registered nurse leads the monthly support group and involves neurologists and behavior health experts as guest speakers.

Meritus Medical Center is designated Primary Stroke Center by the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS). This means that EMS brings patients who are within a 30-minute drive and who have stroke symptoms to Meritus Medical Center rather than taking them to a closer, non-certified health care provider. Meritus Medical Center recently received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award for the third consecutive year and the Target Stroke Honor Roll award for the second consecutive year.

From diagnosis, treatment, recuperation and support, Meritus Health brings together all the experts to help you recover from a stroke. For more information on the Meritus Health stroke support group, call 301-790-8296.