FAST Stroke Prevention Educational Program for Middle School Students

Elaine Tilka Miller, Keith A. King, Rosie Miller, Dawn Kleindorfer
2007 Journal of Neuroscience Nursing  
Stroke remains the third leading cause of death in the United States and a major cause of longterm disability (Rosamond et al., 2007) . Public awareness of stroke warning signs remains low. The Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Stroke Team (GCNKST) has conducted population-based research on public awareness of stroke and found that only 70% of surveyed adults could name a single stroke warning sign (Schneider et al., 2003) . The need for new and creative strategies for educating the public
more » ... clear. Public knowledge of stroke warning signs may be low in part because of the complicated nature of the messages promoted thus far. Currently, public awareness campaigns by national organizations, such as the American Heart Association (AHA) and American Stroke Association (ASA), use a list of stroke signs and symptoms beginning with the word "sudden" that were developed by a panel of experts from the Brain Attack Coalition. In our experience, this list is long and difficult for patients, families, and healthcare providers to remember. The GCNKST developed another educational method using the mnemonic FAST (Face, Arm, Speech, Time to call 911) that was derived from the core elements of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Stroke Scale and the Cincinnati Prehospital Scale (Brott et al., 1989; Kothari, Pancioli, Brott, & Broderick, 1999) . A prospective, observational cohort study of 299 emergency department admissions identified three items (facial palsy, motor arm, and dysarthria) that accounted for 100% of the patients with stroke and had a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 92% (Kothari, Hall, Brott, & Broderick, 1997) . The Out-of-Hospital NIH Stroke Scale was based on facial palsy, motor arm, and a combination of dysarthria and best language (Face, Arm, Speech) and had a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity Abstract: This pilot study evaluated the effects of FAST Stroke Prevention Educational Program for Middle School Students, a 2-month stroke prevention educational program targeted to middle school students. The FAST program focused on improving knowledge of stroke signs and symptoms; risk factors; treatment-seeking behaviors (call 911); overall attitude toward stroke, including perceived self-efficacy in identifying stroke warning signs and dealing with a stroke victim; stroke risk-reduction behaviors; and other risk factors for stroke, such as hypertension and diabetes. The FAST program evaluation consisted of a pretest, an educational intervention, immediate posttest, and a long-term posttest at 2 months. A convenience sample of 72 students with a mean age of 13.25 years was used. After obtaining school, parental, and student consent, the FAST program was implemented by the school nurse, health teachers, and research nurses. Results indicated significant increases in knowledge of stroke risk factors and warning signs and in attitudes of self-efficacy among middle school students that were sustained from pretest to long-term posttest; data supported the effectiveness of this novel intervention. Additional research using a variety of educational strategies and a longer time frame of intervention is recommended to further expand use of this program.
doi:10.1097/01376517-200708000-00009 fatcat:aw5h6ud5hrbifcxwgsajuej2jm