Stroke remains one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. Even with increased community education on stroke, the most common reason for delay in seeking medical attention is lack of recognition of the signs, symptoms and time sensitivity of stroke treatment. It is compelling to see the amount of patients that do not present for emergency treatment within three hours of symptom onset. This lack of awareness and delay in arrival was found to contribute to decreased candidacy for stroke treatment and leads to increased chances of disability. The critical need for community partnerships specifically aimed at educating on recognition of stroke signs, symptoms and treatment options was identified. The goal of this project was to demonstrate the correlation between community education and decreasing symptom onset to door time.
Method: This retrospective study performed at a Central Illinois hospital reviewed data including symptom onset to door times from January 2014 to March 2015 as one method of determining the effectiveness of community education. Intervention time frames were held between April 2014 to December 2014 with a 3 month pre and post intervention phase. Inclusion criteria: any stroke code that presented through triage or via EMS. Exclusion criteria: in house stroke codes and symptom onset that was unknown.
Results: In the first quarter of 2014, the average time it took patients to present to the Emergency Department from symptom onset was 233 minutes. Post-implementation data revealed the average symptom onset to door time was 63 minutes which accounts for a nearly 73% decrease in arrival time.
Conclusion: Over 20 Community Education sessions on stroke signs, symptoms and the importance of seeking prompt medical attention were held over a nine month period. This community education on stroke was effective because there was a decrease in stroke symptom onset to the Emergency Department which created more eligible patients to receive emergency stroke treatment. This study validated that by providing intense community education aimed at the recognition of stroke signs, symptoms and treatment options, more patients were eligible to receive emergent stroke treatment because the arrival time was drastically shortened.