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Healthwise: Stroke Education

May 11, 2011

Sherry Cliften, is a dietary aid at the Martha Jefferson Hospital. Normally she checks in with patients to find out what they ate throughout the day. However, a few months ago she did more than just enter a menu in a computer, she helped to save a patient who was suffering from a stroke.

"We're just having a conversation and that day she just said 'Sherry I don't feel right'. When she was talking she wasn't completing her sentences," said Cliften. Cliften quickly remembered an acronym she had been taught during a stroke education course at the hospital.

ACT FAST

F for face, to notice the drooping.

A for arm, which will be weakened or numb.

S for slurred speech.

T for time, there is not much time before brain damage occurs.

After Cliften noticed the signs and symptoms, she stepped into a hallway to find a nurse. Hospital staff agree that having the whole staff on the lookout for strokes and other serious symptoms will work to help patients receive the best care possible.

"Everybody in the hospital is trained at some level to respond to an emergency situation and recognize even if they don't know what to call it. Everybody that comes in contact with the patient can potentially impact that patients care," said Amanda Deinlein, a nurse at the hospital.

While Cliften may not be a doctor or a nurse, because she received stroke training, she knew exactly what to look out for.

"I think if you can depend on more than just the doctor or the nurses if someone can step up to the plate it will be a good thing," said Cliften.


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