June is Stroke Month – How partnerships are supporting Stroke Care
by Keli Cristofaro
June is Stroke Month and the Northwestern Ontario Regional Stroke Network (NWORSN) is highlighting the partnerships that promote stroke care initiatives such as recognizing a stroke and acting F.A.S.T. (Face – is it drooping? Arms – can you raise both? Speech – is it slurred or jumbled? Time – call 911 right away).
Stroke is a medical emergency. Calling 9-1-1 is the best way for a person experiencing a stroke to receive the most efficient care. While most Canadians report that calling 9-1-1 is the first thing they would do if someone was having a stroke, statistics indicate otherwise. In Northwestern Ontario, only 49% of stroke patients arrive at their local hospital by ambulance, much lower than the province average of 69%.
Patients and families in Northwestern Ontario need to know the benefits of calling 9-1-1 and the expertise that paramedics bring to stroke care, especially during the critical first hours. Coming to the hospital by ambulance is the safest and most beneficial way for a person to receive stroke care in a timely manner, and increases the likelihood of a good recovery. To help increase community awareness, NWORSN partnered with Leadership Thunder Bay – Community Action Projects (CAPs), in which participants work with community organizations to learn consensus building, partnerships, diversity, fundraising, volunteerism and more. Our CAP team consisted of 5 participants with a diverse range of skills from different career backgrounds in Thunder Bay who worked together to design and implement a public awareness campaign to promote F.A.S.T and the three signs stroke, along with the importance of calling 9-1-1.
The team provided NWORSN with over 52 campaign ideas that would benefit our region. The individuals included their own places of employment to raise awareness during Stroke Month, collectively reaching over 8,000 people. The creativity and dedication of the CAP team was truly remarkable and will have a significant impact on acute stroke awareness and education and NOWRSN is very grateful for their support. Partnerships like this enable us to be healthy together.
For more information about stroke care, please visit our website at www.nwostroke.ca