Community education on stroke : early recognition and timely access to healthcare
Stobie, Paula Anna.
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In 2006, data collected from a hospital emergency room centrally located in Sanders County, Montana revealed that 33% of patients presenting with possible stroke symptoms were eligible to be evaluated for treatment with a potentially life-saving intervention. As a member of the community, I felt this rate of treatment could be improved. Review of data from state and national sources showed similar treatment statistics nationwide. One consistent suggestion in the literature for improving stroke detection and treatment was for increased public education. As a result of these findings I developed, presented, and evaluated a community-based education presentation on stroke symptoms and treatment. Knowledge about stroke symptoms and treatment was measured prior to the presentation and again afterwards with a pre- and post-test tool. Results of this testing showed overall improvement in the audience's knowledge. On-going evaluation of emergency room data to assess for an improved percentage of persons being treated was beyond the scope of this project. Information discovered in a review of the literature consistently points out that late arrival to the Emergency Department is one of the major reasons people are not being treated for stroke, and most sources call specifically for increased public awareness regarding stroke and treatment available. This project served to educate a small population of people in a county with multiple risk factors for stroke. Although ongoing refinement and data collection are needed, continued use of this educational tool may serve to improve treatment of stroke, potentially decreasing the death and disability attributed to stroke in this county.