Fall River Jewish Home

Act FAST to Get Help for a Stroke Victim

As one of Massachusetts’s most experienced providers of long-term care, we work with older adults who have had a stroke every day. We know just how important it is for caregivers and family members to know the warning signs that suggest an older loved one might be having a stroke.

Remember the Acronym FAST

If you have an elderly loved one or older neighbor, learning the signs and symptoms that indicate a stroke can help save their life. Every second counts when someone is having a stroke.

Here’s why. For every minute a stroke goes untreated two million brain cells die. But if someone having a stroke gets prompt medical attention, the odds of preventing permanent disability or death improve significantly. Far too often though, people “wait to see” how they feel and don’t seek medical help quickly enough.

Physicians recommend caregivers to use the acronym FAST to remember the warning signs of a stroke:

F=FACE: Does one side of their face droop? Ask them to smile for you so you can evaluate whether or not their face is drooping on one side.

A=ARMS: Have them raise both arms. Does either arm drift downward? That is a warning sign of a stroke.

S=SPEECH: Does their speech sound slurred or incoherent? Ask them to repeat a simple sentence and see how they do.

T=TIME: If you observe any of these warning signs, call 911 immediately. Then carefully note the time. The clot busting drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) can be lifesaving and may help prevent permanent disability. But it has strict timelines on how long after the first signs of stroke before it can be administered.

Other less obvious warning signs of a stroke include:

  • Sudden onset of a severe headache
  • Numbness or weakness in one leg
  • Sudden trouble understanding a conversation or confusion
  • Trouble with vision in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble with coordination and balance or difficulty walking

If you would like to learn more about stroke risk factors and prevention, The American Stroke Association has a free publication you can subscribe to online.

Does the FAST acronym make it easier to remember the stroke warning signs?

We’re here to answer questions and help you make the best decision for care for you or your loved one. We invite you to reach out and talk with one of our care specialists at Fall River Jewish Home today! CALL 1.508.679.6172, where assistance is just a phone call away.

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