Poole carer saves spouses life thanks to first aid skills

Jane Holt saved her husband's life

An 84-year-old Poole woman has praised St John Ambulance for providing her with the skills to save her husbands life.

Only a week after completing the St John Ambulance Dorset Carers Support Programme, Poole pensioner, Jane Holt, was required to put her newly-learned first aid skills to practice.

Mrs Holt cares full time for her husband Peter who suffers with Dementia. She undertook the programme to enable her to cope with the demands of her caring role.

It was while sitting in the conservatory of their Hamworthy home that Mrs Holt realised something wasn’t quite right with her husband. He had suddenly lost the use of one side of his body, gone blind in one eye and was slurring his speech. She swiftly swung into action and dialled 999.

'I was aware that as I was talking to the emergency services that the ambulance would be on its way, I was able to remain calm and give all the information I was asked for.'

As a direct result of the course she was able to recognise her husband's symptoms using the FAST method and take the appropriate action.

'First aid can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved. I knew what to do and what to say and was able to stay calm knowing help was on its way,' she said.

Julie McDermott, Carers Support Programme Lead Manager, said that people of Mrs Holt’s generation may not know how to react in such situations. As a consequence the programme has specifically targeted carers in her age group to bring them up to speed with first aid skills.

'A lot of people don't know that stroke is a medical emergency and that it is something that needs to be dealt with quickly,' she said.

Failure to act quickly can result in severe disability, but as a result of Mrs Holt's prompt action and the subsequent speed with which her husband was treated within Poole hospital, he was able to return home to her care after two days. He has regained the sight in his eye, the use of the effected side and his speech has returned.

Julie McDermott said that the Carers Support Programme has had quite a number of life saving successes and that they are very proud of Mrs Holt.

The free four week course covers first aid training, information about subjects ranging from safer handling, managing continence, preventing falls and managing stress plus a module on Dementia Care

The courses are run regularly by Registered Nurses throughout Dorset, Somerset, Devon, Avon and the Channel Islands they consist of only one morning a week and include a free lunch.

For more information about the course please phone Kerry Course on 01305 751160.