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Lakeland Launches One Million Messages Campaign for Stroke Awareness


(ST. JOSEPH) – To help raise awareness in the community about the importance of rapid treatment at the first signs of a stroke, Lakeland HealthCare is launching the One Million Messages campaign. The goal of the campaign is to share with at least one million people the FAST method of identifying a stroke and then to act quickly by calling 9-1-1. To do this, Lakeland associates are pledging to tell 20 people about the campaign in November. Lakeland will also post reminders on its Facebook page and Twitter feed.

The acronym FAST is an easy way to remember the signs of a stroke in someone:
    F is for Face – is there a facial droop?
    A is for Arms – does one of their arms drift?
    S is for Speech – is their speech slurred?
    T for Time – act quickly and call 9-1-1! It’s also important to note the time when any of the symptoms first appear.
“The sooner a stroke patient receives care, the better the outcome will be,” said Debbie Lull, RN, Division Director for Patient Care Services, Lakeland HealthCare. “People who experience or see any of the FAST signs of a stroke in others need to call 9-1-1 immediately – do not wait under any circumstance.”

Responding emergency medical service workers can quickly identify a possible stroke and call ahead to the hospital’s Emergency Department. The Stroke Team will be waiting to begin care and possibly give medication called tPA. This medication must be given quickly from when the first symptoms of a stroke appear; ideally, within three hours. In many cases, tPA dissolves the clot and the patient has minimal or no residual effects.

A free smartphone app for iPhones and Androids is now available with information about stroke symptoms, risk factors, resources, and the closest stroke centers to the user. The app can be found by visiting www.millionmessages.org/app or by searching “One Million Messages” within the App Store or Android Market. Those who visit and like “One Million Messages” on Facebook will receive daily tips about identifying the symptoms of stroke, ways to help prevent a stroke, and upcoming educational classes and health screenings.

The results of the One Million Messages campaign will be shared with the other health systems in the Value Health Partners member area which include Allegiance Health (Jackson), Bronson Healthcare Group (Kalamazoo), Covenant HealthCare (Saginaw), Munson Healthcare (Traverse City) Sparrow Health System (Lansing) and Spectrum Health (Grand Rapids). Value Health Partners is a collaboration that totals approximately 50,000 employees. The estimate of each of the 50,000 employees telling 20 community members equals one million, hence the name of the campaign: One Million Messages. The goal is to decrease the devastating effects of strokes. According to the Centers for Disease Control, stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and is the leading cause of serious, long-term disability.

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    Center for Outpatient Services, St. Joseph  
    Hospice at Home Lakeland HealthCare Affiliate  
    Lakeland Community Hospital, Niles  
    Lakeland Community Hospital, Watervliet  
    Lakeland Regional Medical Center, St. Joseph  
    Lakeland Specialty Hospital, Berrien Center  
 
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