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Brain Awareness Week

Stroke - Brain Awareness Week

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It’s Brain Awareness Week and the Trust’s focus is on Stroke. Paula Briley and Kate Bowen, Stroke Association Support Coordinators along with James Cross Volunteer have been manning a stand in the main foyer raising awareness and offering lots of information to staff, patients and visitors.


Both Paula and Kate’s role in the community is to offer support to stroke survivors, carers and their families. They care for patients in the early days after stroke throughout their recovery and into the longer term, working closely with a network of volunteers, stroke clubs and groups.


James Cross, who suffered a stroke 4 years ago said “I am so pleased that Darent Valley Hospital will be getting a HASU, getting immediate care is so important for stroke victims and makes such a difference to recovery. Having a dedicated team who are all fully trained in how to manage stroke can only be a good thing. Although having a stroke has really affected my life, if I hadn’t had one I would never have met these lovely ladies, Paula and Kate."

How to recognise the signs of a stroke

The signs and symptoms of a stroke vary from person to person, but usually begin suddenly.

As different parts of your brain control different parts of your body, your symptoms will depend on the part of your brain affected and the extent of the damage.


The main stroke symptoms can be remembered with the word F.A.S.T.:

  • Face – the face may have dropped on 1 side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have drooped.
  • Arms – the person with suspected stroke may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in 1 arm.
  • Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake; they may also have problems understanding what you're saying to them.
  • Time – it's time to dial 999 immediately if you notice any of these signs or symptoms.


It's important for everyone to be aware of these signs and symptoms, particularly if you live with or care for somebody in a high-risk group, such as someone who is elderly or has diabetes or high blood pressure.