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Retro advertising to send simple message of stroke symptoms and the need to dial 9-1-1

June 6 2011

Stroke survivors and care providers will mark June as stroke month by hitting the streets, using an early form of road-side advertising to show the symptoms of a stroke and the need to dial 9-1-1 for prompt treatment.

Grand River Hospital’s district stroke centre and stroke providers in Hamilton, Burlington, and Brantford have organized a coordinated burmashave on Tuesday June 7th from 8 to 10am (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burma-Shave). Locally, the event will happen at Grand River Hospital’s KW Site at 835 King Street West in Kitchener. Cambridge Stroke Recovery has organized an afternoon burmashave to take place on Hespeler Road at Can-Amera Parkway from 4 to 6pm.

Care providers and stroke survivors will hold large placards for passing motorists to see, providing a simple message about the signs and symptoms of a stroke. 

“When it comes to stroke care, the faster you recognize symptoms and seek care means improved survival for brain cells. We hope people will get the message and call 9-1-1 in the event of a stroke. As our area’s stroke provider, GRH provides life-saving treatment for patients experiencing a stroke,” said Tammy Tebbutt, director of GRH’s district stroke centre.

“Strokes are unique in every case. My husband’s call to 9-1-1 was very important to me receiving care when my stroke happened. We need people to understand that quick action when a stroke happens makes a difference, no matter what the situation is,” said New Hamburg resident Paula Povey, who will take part in tomorrow’s burmashave in Kitchener.

One of every six people throughout the world will have a stroke. However, research indicates that only 60 per cent of patients call emergency providers for immediate care. Failing to recognize the warning signs of a stroke delays the life-saving medical care provided at designated stroke centres.

The promotional burmashave comes from a brand of shaving cream that used ad campaigns of sequential highway signs. The campaigns ran from the 1920s to the 1960s. Instead of the more humorous signs used in Burma-Shave’s heyday, GRH’s stroke messages will be as follows:

  • Sudden blurred vision;
  • Weakness on one side;
  • Sudden t-t-trouble s-speaking;
  • I called 9-1-1 and survived my stroke; and
  • For more information, go to www.grhosp.on.ca.

Other stroke symptoms include a loss of strength or numbness in the face, arm or leg; a severe and an unusual headache; and a loss of balance.

“We encourage patients and their families to call 9-1-1 rather than driving to the hospital in the event of a stroke. Paramedics can assess patients and ensure that a patient is quickly transported to the designated centre with the resources to provide stroke treatment,” said Kevin Petendra, manager of training and quality programs for the Region of Waterloo EMS.

Grand River Hospital provides a range of stroke care services. The hospital’s district stroke centre provides preventive education and support to reduce strokes in partnership with community agencies. GRH’s integrated stroke unit at the KW Site provides acute care for patients who have had a stroke, while the Freeport Site provides rehabilitation services.

For more information, please contact:
Mark Karjaluoto, Director of Communications
Office: (519) 749-4300 extension 2788, Pager: (519) 244-3088, mark.karjaluoto@grhosp.on.ca

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