Background: Although community stroke recognition has improved slowly over the last 2 decades, currently 1 in 3 Americans cannot recall any stroke signs or symptoms. This has impact beyond an individual level as 66% of stroke cases are identified by someone other than the person experiencing symptoms.
Purpose: To implement a 1 hour interactive program emphasizing the FAST acronym for stroke signs and symptoms for school aged children in the Central Ohio area and at 6 months have 80% of students able to recognize signs and symptoms of stroke and call 911.
Method: We developed 5 interactive rotating stations each lasting 5-10 minutes (total program of 1 hour). Each station used adaptive equipment to mimic a stroke deficit. To reinforce FAST, other signs and symptoms of stroke and the importance of calling 911, and to start conversations in homes and educate those beyond the classroom, a coloring booklet with a stroke story, facts and activities was given to each child at the end of the program. Grade appropriate baseline knowledge assessments were given 1 week prior to program participation. The same assessments were given 1 week post program to measure knowledge gained based on group's overall average score and at 6 months measuring knowledge retention defined as 80% of individuals scoring at least 80% or above in recognizing signs and symptoms of stroke.
Results: There were 839 children educated across 15 schools (12% 3rd grade, 46% 4th grade, 42% 5th grade). Every class for every grade demonstrated improvements in knowledge from the pre-to post-assessment. The aim for 6-month knowledge retention across participants was met (Figure 1).
Conclusion: Addressing gaps in community stroke recognition through a 1 hour interactive children's stroke program yielded >80% knowledge proficiency after 6 months. Further research is warranted to determine the association between educating with adaptive equipment compared with standard printed materials and/or lecture.