Introduction: Delayed presentation to the hospital persists as a significant barrier to early intervention of stroke with tPA treatment. Community knowledge about stroke symptoms is moderate at best and not parallel with behavior.
Objective: To assess our community’s level of knowledge about stroke to direct the development of targeted educational efforts.
Methods: Members of communities in our regional stroke alert locations were asked to complete a 15-item survey that included questions about basic demographics, stroke symptoms, behavior actions and interest in and barriers to attending stroke education. Surveys were collected from local businesses, online and in public venues. Overall scores were calculated by summing the number of correct responses and, with the exception of questions pertaining to the BEFAST mnemonic, subtracting the number of incorrect or unmarked responses. Reported metrics include overall survey scores and demographics of survey respondents. Total scores were compared between demographic groups via the Wilcoxon Rank Sum, while question level comparisons utilized the χ2 or Fisher’s exact test. GIS technology was applied to identify geographic clusters of different knowledge levels.
Results: Among 1118 participants, 86% had low levels of stroke knowledge as defined by a survey score of ≤ 70% accuracy (medium = 71-89%; high ≥ 90-100%). Knowledge was low throughout most of our community with isolated pockets of higher knowledge in outlying areas. Awareness was highest (though still low) among females, middle-aged adults (36-55 yo), those with post-high school degrees, and those with previous formal stroke education. In case of stroke, older adults (55+ yo) were least likely to call 9-1-1. Only 21.6% of participants were likely or highly likely to attend stroke education.
Conclusions: The level of stroke knowledge in our community is low. People tend to not be interested in attending formal stroke education outside of their regular day. Efforts must be made to raise awareness about stroke symptoms and treatment in order to increase more positive outcomes following stroke. Incorporating stroke education into work and school curriculums will be our targeted approach.