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Campaign to promote FAST action on strokes

Published: 5 March 2008

Stroke is a major cause of death and disability in the UK - now a campaign and local event aims to improve public awareness and to encourage people to call 999 if they recognise the symptoms of stroke.

As part of Brain Awareness Week (10-16 March) a free stroke awareness information event is taking place on Monday 10 March at Southampton General Hospital from 1pm-5pm for the general public and stroke survivors.

Researchers from the University of Southampton’s internationally-renowned Stroke Association Rehabilitation Research Centre, based at Southampton General Hospital, have organised the event and are promoting the Stroke Association campaign locally. The Stroke Association Rehabilitation Research Centre, which is funded by the Stroke Association, works to reduce disability among people with stroke.

Strokes are preventable, and their effects can often be significantly reduced through emergency treatment. All too often the symptoms of stroke are not recognised, and diagnosis and treatment are delayed. In a third of all cases this is a matter of life and death.

Dr Dorit Hyndman from the Stroke Association Rehabilitation Research Centre says, “A stroke is a medical emergency and by calling 999 you can help someone reach hospital quickly and receive the early treatment they need. Prompt action can prevent further damage to the brain and help someone make a full recovery. Delay can result in death or major long-term disabilities, such as paralysis, severe memory loss and communication problems.”

One of the main aims of the Stroke Association campaign is to raise awareness of the Face Arm Speech Test (FAST), which has been developed to quickly identify whether someone has had a stroke. FAST requires an assessment of three specific symptoms of stroke:

Facial weakness - can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?

Arm weakness - can the person raise both arms?

Speech problems - can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?

Test all three symptoms - if the person has failed any one of these tests, you must call 999.

FAST posters and leaflets will also be available in all GP surgeries within Southampton City Primary Care Trust.

If you would you like to learn more about stroke, call 023 8079 8669 to book your place to attend the free information afternoon on Monday 10 March from 1-5 pm at Southampton General Hospital, Lecture Theatre 2, South Academic Block.

There will be presentations from members of the Stroke Association Rehabilitation Research Centre, including stroke physicians, social scientists and physiotherapists, as well as people with stroke who are part of the Centre’s Consumer Information Group about the ongoing work of the Centre and its upcoming Neurorehabilitation Conference in September will also be available. Refreshments will be provided.

Notes for editors

  • The Stroke Association Rehabilitation Research Centre

    The Stroke Association Rehabilitation Research Centre focuses on investigating and understanding which rehabilitation interventions are most effective for patients with stroke.

    The aim is to establish a centre of excellence for stroke rehabilitation, research and practice, creating a model of treatment that benefits patients directly and will inform the future development and delivery of clinical services for people with stroke across the UK.

    The therapy-led multidisciplinary team includes patients, clinicians and academics such as basic scientists, bioengineers, a medical statistician, a health psychologist and a medical sociologist.

    The Centre, which opened in January 2004, reflects the partnership between the University and the NHS Trusts in Southampton and Bournemouth and Christchurch.

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