Life-saving FAST campaign begins
6/06/2017 4:32:17 p.m.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Life-saving FAST campaign begins

A nationwide campaign to help New Zealanders recognise the main signs of a stroke, and to call 111, begins today.

The campaign teaches the FAST message (Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 111) and has proven effective here and overseas.

“FAST works,” Stroke Foundation CEO Mark Vivian says. “It can be the difference between life and death, or recovery and disability.

“We know that because we’ve heard from people thanking FAST for making a huge difference when they had a stroke.”

The symptoms described by FAST, while by no means the only signs of a stroke, are the most common. It’s also essential that a stroke is treated as a medical emergency, and if anyone suspects a person is having a stroke they should dial 111 immediately.

That’s because drug treatment called thrombolysis can break down the damaging clot if administered within four hours of the onset of symptoms.

“If someone gets thrombolysis successfully, they can often make a full or extremely good recovery,” Mr Vivian says.

“But you must get to hospital as soon as possible. It’s not enough to call a doctor, or wait for the symptoms to pass. Every minute you delay can affect the outcome.

“Trust me, you’re not inconveniencing ambulance or hospital staff by ringing 111. They want to get that call.”

The three-month FAST campaign is a partnership between the Stroke Foundation, Ministry of Health, and Health Promotion Agency and will consist of television and radio ads, as well as online messages. It follows the first nationwide campaign last year, and a pilot campaign developed and run by the Stroke Foundation in the Waikato in 2014. Findings from both campaigns showed a significant improvement in people knowing the main signs of stroke.

Although everyone should learn the FAST message, the campaign this year will have a special focus on Māori, who are at particular risk of stroke. Pasifika and Indo-Asian communities are also being targeted in the campaign.
More information about FAST can be found at: http://www.stroke.org.nz/See-a-Stroke-FAST