If you've ever seen the FAST * decal on the side or back of an ambulance unit in Saskatchewan, you've seen the result of the partnership between Saskatchewan Emergency Medical Services, Saskatchewan Health Authority Stroke Services, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
This partnership is not only creating strong working links between these organizations, it is also improving health outcomes for patients who suffer strokes in Saskatchewan, despite the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The care of a stroke starts when a patient calls 911. A paramedic's ability to use critical screening tools, like FAST*, to identify and begin stroke treatment before reaching the hospital has a significant impact on the patient," said Lisa Korec, Provincial Director of Neurosciences at the SHA.
The work of Stroke Services encompasses everything from excellence in patient care, to incorporation of best practice and implementation of screening tools like FAST and FAST VAN. Stroke services is a foundational partner within the framework developed for the provincial acute stroke pathway which gives patients the most efficient and timely care available in a stroke emergency. It takes thought, planning and cooperation to pull this off. Lisa also indicated “We are lucky to have such a passionate group of people working on the provincial strategy for stroke services. It has advanced our work in so many ways that could never have been accomplished if we would have done it alone."
Strokes won't take a break during the COVID-19 pandemic and neither will the partnership. Everyone needs to know the signs of a stroke, and act FAST*.
*FAST is an acronym that is meant to help people detect and get help for a stroke. It stands for: Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties, Time to call 911.
A FAST decal on one of Saskatchewan's ambulances.