Act FAST if you suspect the onset of a stroke

A Stroke is a devastating medical emergency that requires immediate attention. Stroke, also known as a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), can have long term effects that vary in severity and can have an impact on the life of the person who has experienced the Stroke.

Among some of the long-term effects are loss of movement, loss of speech, seizures, vision loss and overall pain. Mental and emotional effects also develop and can result in the patient experiencing apathy or mania, depression, anxiety, mood swings and difficulty expressing emotions.

HospiceWits sees patients battling with the long-term effects of a Stroke and continue to provide quality medical and palliative care to those who have experienced this overwhelming event.

How do you know someone is having a Stroke?

The rule here is to BE FAST. Not only fast in speed, but to apply the acronym to assess the person’s condition:

  • Balance loss – is the person unsteady on their feet? Watch for any balance issues when standing or walking.
  • Eyesight changes – the person experiencing a Stroke may have loss of vision or visual disturbances.
  • Facial drooping – ask the person to smile and observe if they are having difficulty doing so, or their smile may appear uneven. You would also be able to immediately see if there is any drooping on one side of the face.
  • Arm weakness – get the person to raise their arms and observe if they are only able to raise one arm or if one arm drifts down after being raised.
  • Speech – ask them to say a simple phrase and listen for any difficulty in speech or the slurring of words.
  • Time – call the emergency services immediately. The faster a person is treated for Stroke, the greater their chances when it comes to recovery.

It is possible for people who have experienced a Stroke to make a strong recovery if they receive the proper care – and in good time. Depending on the severity of the Stroke and the location of the Stroke in the brain, recovery times can vary. Some may not necessarily regain full function, however, there is still a chance to enjoy quality of life. The main thing is to act quickly if you suspect someone is having a Stroke.

A Stroke can have a debilitating effect, and for those who are not able to make a full recovery and who have lost their independence as a result, HospiceWits is able to provide quality palliative care and support to patients in the greater Johannesburg and Soweto areas.

Remember to act quickly. You could save a life.

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