Background and Purpose: Despite advances in stroke therapy, the public remains uninformed about stroke, and few stroke patients present to the hospital in time to receive treatment. Health education campaigns can increase community awareness and may decrease time to hospital presentation among stroke patients. Methods: We conducted a community-based education campaign utilizing television and newspapers to inform the residents of King County, Wash., USA, about stroke and the need to call 911. The effectiveness of the campaign was assessed, using a pretest-posttest design, through telephone interviews with residents of King County. Results: Prior to the education campaign, 59.6% of persons in King County could name a risk factor for stroke, but only 45.2% knew that the brain was the organ of injury. And while 68.2% of persons stated that they would call 911 in the event of stroke, only 38.6% could name a symptom of stroke. The knowledge deficit was greatest among Asian-Americans, men, the less educated and low-income residents. There was a significant increase in stroke knowledge following the education campaign; respondents were 52% (p = 0.005) more likely to know a risk factor for stroke and 35% (p = 0.032) more likely to know a symptom of stroke after the campaign. Conclusions: Baseline knowledge about stroke among the public is poor, but can be increased through public education campaigns.
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