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Paramedics: A key player in stroke care

When it comes to stroke care, a number of clinicians and providers diagnose, treat and rehabilitate patients. There’s one provider in particular who plays a key role as the initial point of contact: paramedics.
BCAS stroke story
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A 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 seconds matter.

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 allergies.
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.

BCEHS 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.

June is Stroke Awareness Month

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.

For more information, visit the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s website.
BC Ambulance Service; BCEHS; Stroke Services BC
SOURCE: Paramedics: A key player in stroke care ( )
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