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Act ‘F.A.S.T’ To Enjoy Precious Moments: Our Plead for Stroke Awareness

From the 8th to the 14th of August 2022, it is National Stroke Week. During National Stroke Week 2022, we are celebrating ‘precious moments’ that you or your loved one’s can continue to enjoy during and after your recovery from a stroke. This week aims to help others to keep enjoying these moments by sharing the F.A.S.T (Face, Arms, Speech, Time) method of identifying the signs of a stroke with family and friends. At OSCAR, we are celebrating moments our clients have shared with us that they were able to experience after recovering from a stroke.

What is a stroke?

Our brains are supplied with blood carrying oxygen and nutrients through blood vessels called arteries. A stroke happens when blood cannot flow through to your brain. This happens because of a blocked or burst artery, depending on the type of stroke that you have.

Ischaemic stroke: occurs when an artery in the brain gets blocked by a clot

Haemorrhagic stroke: caused by a break in the wall of a blood vessel in the brain

What are the risk factors for a stroke?

There are many risk factors that may increase somebody’s chance of having a stroke in their lifetime. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • High blood pressure

  • Type 2 diabetes

  • High cholesterol

  • Atrial fibrillation

  • Physical inactivity

  • Overweight and obesity

  • Smoking

  • Alcohol consumption

What are the signs of a stroke? (F.A.S.T)

The Stroke Foundation recommends the F.A.S.T test as an easy way to remember the most common signs of stroke. This test involves asking these simple questions:

Face – Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?

Arms – Can they lift both arms?

Speech – Is their speech slurred? Can the person understand what you are saying?

Time is critical. If you see any of these signs, call 000.

The F.A.S.T method indicates the most common symptoms or signs of a stroke. The following signs of stroke may occur in isolation, or in combination with the signs listed above –

  • Weakness, numbness or paralysis of the face, arm, leg or either side of the body

  • Dizziness, loss of balance or an unexplained fall

  • Loss of vision, sudden blurring or decreased vision in one or both eyes

  • Headache, usually severe and abrupt onset or unexplained change in the pattern of headaches

  • Difficulty swallowing

Having a stroke can lead to a range of long-standing of difficulties for the person, that may range from mild to severe depending on several factors such as the type of stroke, location of the blocked or burst artery, and how much brain tissue is permanently damaged. Some of the challenges that stroke-survivors may face are weakness, difficulties with speech and/or swallowing, personality and behavioural challenges, vision loss, incontinence and more.

Act F.A.S.T to enjoy precious moments

The theme of National Stroke Week 2022 is to ‘act F.A.S.T to enjoy precious moments.’ At OSCAR Care Group, we are reflecting on what this means to us and our clients that we see who have experienced a stroke.

Having a stroke is typically a very sudden and life-changing event for the individual and their close supports. It can be devastating for individuals, who have to readjust their lives around their ‘new normal’ during post-stroke recovery. This can include changes to their physical abilities, as well as cognitive such as changes to communication, speech, and language functioning.

Our clients and Speech Pathologist, Natalie share what ‘Act F.A.S.T to enjoy precious moments’ means to them.

"I am here today because my partner was able to recognise the signs of me having a stroke. Now we are getting married soon, and get to raise 2 dogs together. These are the precious moments I get to enjoy because I survived my stroke.’ Anonymous OSCAR Care Group Speech Pathology Client

"The impacts of a stroke are devastating – if I had identified the signs of my stroke sooner, I feel like the impact on my brain might have been lessened. I put my symptoms down to stress, and didn’t act fast until my partner called to get me some help. By that point I couldn’t speak at all. I am still grateful to be here today, but part of me will always wish I had acted sooner.” - Richard

“I had heard about the F.A.S.T strategy for identifying stroke through a previous campaign, and never thought that I would actually need to use it. Being able to identify that my dad was having a stroke definitely helped safe his life. He is now able to enjoy precious moments with his new granddaughter and hopefully welcome more grandkids into his life in the future.” - Clare

‘This theme highlights the importance of recognising the early signs of a stroke to increase survival rate, and attempt to minimize the impact of a stroke on someone’s brain. The earlier the medical intervention, the better. I find it so rewarding to hear of the precious life moments my clients get to experience because of surviving their stroke – birthdays, weddings, grandchildren being born, and now that the world is re-opened, travelling to achieve their bucket list!’ Natalie, OSCAR Care Group Speech Pathologist

Speech Pathology intervention to support stroke rehabilitation

Our Speech Pathology team is here to support your post-stroke rehabilitation.

  • Do you have difficulty speaking or swallowing after your stroke?

  • Do you have difficulties finding the right words to say sometimes?

  • Or perhaps, maybe it is challenging to remember things.

A Speech Pathologist is trained in working with individuals who have had a stroke, specifically if it has impacted their communication or swallowing skills. You may want ongoing therapy to help re-build these skills, or maybe a few sessions to give you some strategies to work with. We want to hear from you and help support you!

Reach out to our Speech Pathology team today or call 1300 467 227



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