Spreading awareness of stroke signs and symptoms

Updated February 13, 2015

EMS providers can and should play an active role in stroke awareness and prevention

With May being National Stroke Awareness Month, it's a good time for EMS providers to remember the active role they should be playing in stroke awareness and prevention.

This can include:

1. Teaching stroke signs and symptoms

Teaching patients and community members about stroke signs and symptoms. Include a link to the National Stroke Awareness Month Web site on your organization’s Web site and Facebook page.

2. Stress early 911 activation

lways stressing in community education and prevention programs the importance of calling 911 if stroke signs are present. Treatment of ischemic strokes is dependent on assessment and treatment within 3 hours.

3. Lower risk factors for stroke

Encouraging patients with high blood pressure and other stroke risk factors to work with their personal physician to lessen their risk. Some community paramedic programs focus on lowering risk of stroke by making frequent preventative visits with patients.

4. Learn and use a stroke screening tool

All EMS providers should use a stroke screening tool on suspected stroke patients. Document and report the stroke screen findings. Follow your local protocols to use the Cincinnati Stroke Scale or Los Angeles Prehospital Stroke Screen.

F.A.S.T. stroke assessment is a simple method for lay persons to determine if stroke signs are present. Read more about the FAST assessment.

In addition, you can learn more about stroke from the American Stroke Association.

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