Stroke Awareness: A Community Approach

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Shirley Lena Romero, MSN, BSN, RN, PHN, CCRN
Critical Care Unit /Rapid Response Nurse, St. Jude Medical Center, Fullerton, CA, USA


Current approaches to prevention of stroke disease in the community are in need of effective educational programs. Literature identifies perceived susceptibility to illness as a strong indicator for a health action.  However, many clients fail to recognize their vulnerability to illness and do not take preventive action. The purpose of this study was to teach a class on stroke awareness to a group of parishioners from a small community church and explore their stroke beliefs, knowledge of stroke factors, and intention to take a health action using the Health Belief Model as the theoretical framework.  


A quantitative descriptive design, using a survey method for data collection was utilized for this research study. The setting was a community church in Orange County California. A convenience sample of 22 participants, ages 15 to 80 years old, able to read, write, and speak English were drawn from a target population of 210 members. All participants signed-up for the class on a volunteer basis.


A sixty minute educational session was provided to the participants in a natural setting that included strategies for identification of the signs and symptoms of a stroke, calling 911, identification of risk factors, healthy lifestyle, and current stroke treatments. Various teaching methods were used during the session, such as, lecture, Q&A, demonstration, and return demonstration. Five researcher developed questionnaires were utilized: a demographic and health questionnaire, a pre and post-test, and a Commit to Action survey to measure intention to make a healthy change. Data from the questionnaires were coded and analyzed using descriptive statistics, frequency and percentages, and paired-t-tests to find a relationship or associations within this sample.


Self-disclosed risk factors for this sample were positive for hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, stroke, lack of exercise, unhealthy diet, and smoking. Results obtained from the pre and post-test showed that 60% of responses had statistical significance and 86% of responses had a positive change from pre to post-test. Intention to increase physical activity had the highest frequency reported by the participants on the Commit to Action survey. In particular, those age 15 to 19 years old had the most positive change in their intent to increase physical activity.

Implications for nursing practice

There is a need to continue to promote health education in the community. Knowing what motivates people to accept or reject health preventive care can help the nursing community design appropriate teaching interventions. Younger populations have a significant opportunity for lifestyle changes and should be included in educational interventions typically targeting adults. Faith-based organizations, community centers, and schools can effectively promote health education to the public. Further studies are needed to address the effectiveness of the teaching over a period of time.