stroke is an emergency medical condition that requires paramedic care and BC
Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) paramedics are vital in making sure patients
get the care they need when they need it.
With two million brain cells dying every minute during a stroke, even
On June 4, the Heart
and Stroke Foundation released a report highlighting the critical role
paramedics play in early stroke management.
Our paramedics are trained
to quickly diagnose stroke and address urgent health needs such as blood
pressure, heart rate, neurological status and blood glucose levels; as well as
gather important information such as when the patient was last known to be well
to establish stroke onset time, existing health conditions, medications and
In addition, paramedics understand which hospital is closest and has all
the resources needed to assess and treat stroke. Paramedics also pre-alert receiving hospitals of an incoming stroke. It’s this streamlined process that saves precious minutes when the patient arrives at the hospital, so stroke treatment can begin right away.
continues to work with our health authority partners and Stroke Services BC to
develop protocols to ensure patients are taken to the nearest, most appropriate
hospital equipped to provide emergency stroke care across the province.
We’re proud to share that BC paramedics are among the best in
the country for time spent on scene and transporting to hospital for stroke
patients, according to the report.
We’re also proud that our paramedics
are at the front line of research that could revolutionize stroke care.
Paramedics in Vancouver and Richmond are participating in the FRONTIER trial
that is assessing the use of a brain-protecting drug that can be given in the
case of a suspected stroke in the field. If this drug proves beneficial, it will
have significant impact on stroke recovery for patients.
The report outlined the challenges in the vital first hours after stroke that are preventing too many Canadians from getting the best care including lack of knowledge about stroke. It indicates only one-third of Canadians recognized stroke is an urgent condition that requires immediate action.
As part of Stroke Awareness Month, the Heart and Stroke Foundation launched
a new campaign, called FAST, to help Canadians recognize the signs of stroke and take
immediate and life-saving action:
- FACE – is it drooping?
- ARMS – can you raise both?
- SPEECH – is it slurred or jumbled?
- TIME – to call 9-1-1 right away
How fast you respond to the warnings signs of stroke may mean the
difference between life and death. If you or your family members exhibit these
signs, call 9-1-1- and paramedics will be dispatched right away.