Act Fast to Save Lives

Two specialist stroke nurses  – Caroline McGhee and Amanda Smart – have been busy in Forth Valley Royal Hospital, helping people recognise the signs of stroke and how to react quickly. They set up an information stand in the hospital foyer and answered questions from the public.

The Forth Valley campaign includes the distribution of 35,000 small wallet cards to community pharmacies. The newly-designed FAST cards (Face, Arm, Speech, Time) feature pictures of  the warning signs which  people should watch out for and tells them when to dial 999. The cards will be placed inside prescription bags for certain patients including those receiving statins, warfarin, digoxin, blood pressure tablets and aspirin.

According to Caroline McGhee, stroke can happen to anyone at any age:

 More than 1,000 people every year are affected by stroke in Forth Valley.
The campaign highlights that stroke is a medical emergency. You can’t see the damage it causes to the brain but emergency treatment can make all the difference to your chances of making the best possible recovery.  Everyone should know how to spot the signs of stroke and help save a life.”

NHS Forth Valley Senior Planning Manager David Munro added:

 Stroke is a medical emergency and by calling 999 you can help someone reach hospital quickly and receive the early assessment and treatment they need. Prompt action can prevent further damage to the brain and minimise the impact of a stroke. Delay can increase the risk of death or major long-term disabilities, such as paralysis, severe memory loss and communication problems. Don’t ignore symptoms in the hope that they will go away.”

The FAST message was developed by leading stroke physicians and focuses on how an attack affects the face, arms and speech. The T represents time to call the emergency services.