Staff urged to think FAST in stroke awareness sessions

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From left: Iwan Roberts from CCG having his blood pressure taken at the Stroke Awareness workshop with Linda Hughes and Rebecca Chamberlain from the Stroke Association

Staff at local housing association, Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd (CCG) will this month be asked to react FAST as they attend stroke awareness workshops by the national Stroke Association.

Over 250 CCG staff will take part in the workshops to help them recognise the symptoms of stroke and how best to respond.

The workshops have been arranged after a member of CCG staff suffered a stroke at work.

It was thanks to the quick reaction of his two colleagues that he is now on his way to a full recovery.

After this incident the company was eager for all staff to be aware of the symptoms so they could also react quickly within the ‘golden hour’ if they saw someone either in, or outside of work having a stroke.

Delyth Williams, Assistant Director – People at CCG said; “Workshops will be held in a number of our offices including Bangor, Dolgellau and Pwllheli. It’s great that everyone at CCG is attending these workshop after what happened to their colleague.

“As a lot of our staff work out in the field in very rural parts of Gwynedd it’s essential they are aware of the symptoms so that they can react and receive treatment quickly.”

During the workshops, staff were taught to look for stroke symptoms using the FAST test which is used by the Stroke Association and the emergency services to detect the most common indicators of stroke.

Linda Hughes from the Stroke Association said; “With approximately 152,000 strokes in the UK every year, which is one every three and a half minutes, we, or someone we know may be affected. It’s very important that people know what to look out for, that’s why we use the FAST test – Facial weakness, can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped? Arm weakness, can the person raise both arms? Speech – can the person speak clearly and understand what you say? And if any of these symptoms appear, Time to call 999.”

Getting help to the stroke sufferer quickly is essential to help reverse and treat the symptoms. With 11,500 people suffering a stroke every year in Wales and a quarter of those to people under 65 years old, it is important for staff to be aware of the symptoms and consequences of stroke.

Delyth Williams added:  “The workshops have been great for the staff. As well as learning more about the symptoms of stroke, the sessions also gave information and advice on how to prevent them.

“Staff also had the chance to have their blood pressure tested and were given advice on the results.

“We hope that through these sessions we are able to give our staff the confidence to identify the symptoms of stroke quickly as well as advice on preventing them which in the future may make all the difference to themselves or others.”