By Morgen Wells
LAKEPORT >> Sutter Lakeside Hospital staff are hitting the streets to bring preventative education to Lake County.
Beginning Thursday, Oct. 13, hospital staff members will pledge to educate five friends or family members about the signs and symptoms of stroke using key ring tabs printed with the “BE FAST” acronym. Over 300 staff members are participating.
“We use the acronym BE FAST to make it easy for people to remember the symptoms of a stroke. It stands for ‘balance, eyes, face, arms, speech, and time’,” said Nicole Lamm, RN, Emergency Department nurse manager. “While many people know the signs of a heart attack, fewer people know what a stroke looks like.”
A stroke is caused by the interruption of blood flow to the brain caused by either a blocked artery or the leaking of a blood vessel, according to the Mayo Clinic. The signs of a stroke include loss of balance, change in vision, one-sided facial drooping, inability to raise both arms and slurred speech.
During a stroke, a victim loses 32,000 brain cells per second.
“Time is brain,” said Lamm. “That’s why recognizing a stroke and calling 911 right away gives the patient the best odds of a successful recovery. Often a victim doesn’t know he or she is having a stroke, so it’s up to the people around him or her to recognize what’s happening and get help.”
Staff are participating in the grass roots education initiative as part of SLH’s yearly education fair, a time when staff refresh clinical skills through presentations and hands-on practice.
“Community stroke education give the residents of Lake County the tools they need to BE FAST when they see the signs of a stroke,” said Lamm.
Sutter Lakeside Hospital serves as the only Certified Stroke Center in Lake County, and uses telemedicine technology to connect patients with top neurointerventionalists at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.
“We strive to bring the best medical care to Lake County,” said Lamm. “The first step is education.”