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Winter 2023 Safety Newsletter




Topics includes:

  • Recognizing and Reporting

  • Warning Signs

  • Signs and Symptoms of:

o Strokes

o Heart Attacks

o Seizures

o Dementia

Reporting Warning Signs:

It is very important to report any warning signs/ changes you see in the client as soon as you notice them. During a stroke, heart attack, or seizure, every minute counts! Fast treatment can lessen brain damage and reduce the damage to the heart muscle that a stroke or a heart attack can cause. By knowing the signs and symptoms of stroke, you can take quick action and perhaps save a life—maybe even your own. Not all strokes and heart attacks look the same. If there is the slightest doubt in your mind if you should report something, the answer is always yes! Remember, the chances of surviving a stroke or a heart attack are better the sooner emergency treatment begins.


A stroke is a medical emergency. A stroke is sometimes called a brain attack, occurs when something blocks blood supply to part of the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. In either case, parts of the brain become damaged or die. A stroke can cause lasting brain damage, long-term disability, or even death.

Common symptoms of strokes include:

  • Trouble walking

  • Speaking and understanding

  • As well as paralysis or numbness of:

o The face

o Arms

o Legs

Less common symptoms of stroke may include:

  • Sudden nausea or vomiting

  • Fainting

  • Confusion

  • Changes on personality

  • Seizures

  • Coma

A transient ischemic attack (TIA), or “mini-stroke” may also occur. TIAs may be warning signs of stroke about to occur.

There are also silent stroke symptoms such as:

  • Sudden lack of balance

  • Temporary loss of basic muscle movement (bladder included)

  • Slight memory loss

  • Sudden changes in mood or personality

  • Issues with cognitive skills and ability

Highest risk factors for stroke are:

  • Age. People 55 or older have a higher risk of stroke than younger people

  • Race. African American and Hispanic patients have a higher risk of stroke than people of other races

  • Sex. Men have a higher risk of stroke than women

Heart Attack

A heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction, happens when a part of the heart muscle doesn’t get enough blood. The more time that passes without treatment to restore blood flow, the greater the damage to the heart muscle.

Warning signs to look out for:

  • Chest pain or discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center or left side of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.

  • Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint

  • You may also break out into a cold sweat

  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back

  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms or shoulders

  • Shortness of breath. This often comes along with chest discomfort, but shortness of breath also can happen before chest discomfort

  • Unusual or unexplained tiredness and nausea or vomiting (more common in women the men)


A seizure is a sudden, uncontrolled burst of electrical activity in the brain. It can cause changes in behavior, movements, feelings, and levels of consciousness. Having two or more seizures at least 24 hours apart that do not have a known cause is considered to be epilepsy.

There are 4 types of seizures and they are:

  • Tonic: Muscles in the body become stiff

  • Atonic: Muscles in the body relax

  • Myoclonic: Short jerking in parts of the body

  • Clonic: Periods of shaking or jerking parts on the body

If a seizure is from epilepsy, it is said that the person who has the seizure has what they call an 'aura'. Which the term that some people use to describe the warning they feel before they have a tonic clonic seizure. An epilepsy 'aura' is in fact a focal aware seizure (FAS). A FAS develops into another type of seizure. The FAS is therefore sometimes a warning that another seizure will happen. Some people have described their auras as:

  • A ‘rising’ feeling in the stomach or déjà vu (feeling like you’ve ‘been here before’);

  • Getting an unusual smell or taste; a sudden intense feeling of fear or joy

  • A strange feeling like a ‘wave’ going through the head;

  • Stiffness or twitching in part of the body, (such as an arm or hand);

  • A feeling of numbness or tingling; a sensation that an arm or leg feels bigger or smaller than it actually is

  • visual disturbances such as:

o colored

o flashing lights

o hallucinations (seeing something that isn’t actually there).

General symptoms or warning signs of a seizure can include:

  • Staring

  • Jerking movements of the arms and legs

  • Stiffening of the body

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Breathing problems or stopping breathing

  • Loss of bowel or bladder control

  • Falling suddenly for no apparent reason, especially when associated with loss of consciousness


For information on Dementia please refer to your Inservice A 2023 training videos in the App.

If you would like additional information on any of these topics or have an idea for a future topic for a safety newsletter you can reach out to Keri either via phone 610-264-2353 or email/

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