Health & Wellbeing

Pandemic or not – stroke must always be treated quickly

Stroke Foundation has issued an urgent reminder to New South Wales residents amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – call triple zero (000) immediately at the first sign of stroke.

Stroke attacks the brain and is always a time-critical medical emergency, yet the state’s metropolitan and regional hospitals are reporting delays in hospital presentation for people with stroke symptoms.

It’s estimated almost 9000 people will have a stroke in New South Wales for the first time in 2021.

Our ambulance and hospital services have adapted to the challenges of the pandemic to protect patients and their families throughout the entire health system.  

Stroke Foundation New South Wales State Manager Rhian Paton-Kelly said delaying or failing to seek urgent medical help for stroke can result in lengthier hospital stays, severe disability or even death.

“I understand we are living in unprecedented times with heightened stress as COVID case numbers remain high, but we must remember stroke does not stop happening because we are in a pandemic,” Ms Paton-Kelly said.

“Around 1.9 million brain cells die each minute after a stroke, but emergency medical treatment can stop this damage.  The faster you get to hospital, the better your chance of a good outcome.
“I implore anyone in New South Wales who suspects they, or someone with them, is having a stroke to call triple-zero (000), even if the symptoms appear mild. It could save a life.”

New South Wales residents are urged to learn and share the most common sign of stroke, F.A.S.T. and to ask these simple questions if they suspect a stroke.

Face – Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?
Arms – Can they lift both arms?
Speech – Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
Time – Time is critical. If you see any of these signs, call triple zero (000) straight away.

Ms Paton-Kelly added stroke can happen at any age, although the risk increases as people get older.

“I understand many older residents are alone at this time,” Ms Paton-Kelly said.

“Please ensure elderly relatives know the F.A.S.T. signs of stroke and check in on them regularly as a carer (where possible) or by phone or via a video chat.

“We know people can play down symptoms and take longer to seek hospital care at times when they don’t want to burden their loved ones or put pressure on health professionals.

“Be assured our doctors and nurses are there to help. Call triple zero (000) at the first sign of stroke. Don’t wait until it’s too late.”
F.A.S.T. represents the most common signs of stroke. Other signs here. F.A.S.T. information is also available inGreek,Italian,Mandarin,Vietnamese,Arabic,Cantonese,HindiandKorean. 
Video content: Learn the F.A.S.T. signs of stroke