Conference Publication Details
Mandatory Fields
Hartigan, I., O'Connell, E., O'Brien, S., Kilonzo, B., Mc Carthy, G. & O'Mahony, D.;
3rd International Nursing and Midwifery Conference
A Stroke of Success: exploring public knowledge of the warning signs of stroke prior to a nationwide education campaign.
Optional Fields
School of Nursing and Midwifery, NUI Galway
Background & Objective
Early recognition of stroke symptoms and warning signs is necessary to ensure acute hospital services are accessed rapidly. The Irish Heart Foundation launched a national stroke awareness campaign in May 2010 to educate the public on the warning signs of stroke. The campaign applies the acronym F.A.S.T. to educate the public on the focal signs of a stroke. Previous research investigating the effectiveness of public stroke awareness campaigns have shown mixed results.
Prior to the launch of the FAST campaign, a quantitative research design using a questionnaire methodology was employed to examine the public awareness of the warning signs of stroke. Data collection involved the completion of the questionnaire electronically or face to face with the researchers.
A total of 1,925 participants completed the survey and the majority of participants were between 30-50 years of age. This study identified a knowledge deficit of stroke symptoms amongst the general public with just 11.6% of participants able to openly list the 3 cardinal symptoms of stroke. When participants were shown a list of 6 stroke symptoms over 70% of participants correctly identified 4 symptoms. At onset of stroke symptoms, the majority of participants indicated that they would contact their GP, wait for symptoms to resolve, seek non-medical assistance or would not know what to do. Very few would contact the emergency services.
There is a knowledge deficit amongst the general public about the early warning signs of stroke. Results suggest participants would procrastinate in seeking emergency medical treatment with stroke onset. Thrombolysis is time dependent and the message of prompt admission to hospital is crucial to optimise patient outcomes. Education campaigns such as the FAST campaign can serve to increase public knowledge of the early warning signs of stroke and support Healthcare Professionals in their role as patient educators.
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