BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Stroke is one of the most preventable diseases, but remains to be a serious public health concern in the Philippines. Lack of awareness of stroke warning signs is a factor that contributes to late patient arrival to the hospital. Information dissemination on stroke risk factors, warning signs, and emergent management will be of great help. Our study aimed to determine the level of awareness and perception and to increase the knowledge on stroke risk factors, signs and symptoms, and modes of prevention through information dissemination among paramedics and caregivers at St. Lukes Medical Center (SLMC).
METHODS: Participants to the stroke forum were nurses, nursing aides, CT scan technicians, dieticians, physical therapist, SLMC employees and patient caregivers. A ten-item pre-test questionnaire was distributed before the Stroke Forum. The lectures consisted of an introduction to the Stroke Data Bank, stroke warning signs, risk factors, and emergent management, diet for stroke, and personality, attitude, stress and relaxation techniques. Pamphlets/brochures were also distributed during the forum for participants to take home. The same questionnaire was given as post-test immediately after the forum and after two weeks. Data was analyzed using, the t-test and Mc Nemar test. Participants were categorized as Informed (those who answered correctly in the pre-test, and answered correctly in the succeeding post-tests); Stubborn (those who answered incorrectly in the pre-test" and still answered incorrectly in the post-tests); Confused (those who answered correctly in the pre-test, but answered incorrectly in the post-tests); and Enlightened (those who. answered incorrectly in the pre-tests, but answered correctly in the post-tests).
RESULTS: There were 175 participants during the stroke forum. One hundred thirty eight completed both pre-test and the first post-test; and only 100 completed both pre-test and the second post-test. There was a significant increase in the mean score of 64.6 percent during the pretest to 81.1 percent during the 1st posttest (p0.00001). However, there was no significant difference in mean scores between the 1st posttest and the 2nd posttest. Questions on general information on stroke showed that more than 90 percent of the respondents were previously informed, except for the question on what age stroke can occur in which only 55 percent of respondents were informed. On the questions "What is stroke?" and "What should be done emergently after a stroke?" less that 50 percent were previously informed and an additional 25 percent were enlightened after the forum. Among the common signs and causes of stroke, only about 50 percent were identified by 50 percent of the respondents. Forty to 50 percent of the respondents were confused as to the association of smoking and excessive alcohol intake with stroke. A small proportion of participants were categorized as stubborn for all questions. For all items, those respondents who were informed during the 1st posttest remained to be informed during the 2nd posttest.
CONCLUSIONS: Participants were not as well informed on what a stroke is, its signs and symptoms, risk factors, and what to do in case of a stroke. After the stroke forum however, there is improvement in awareness and knowledge, which were retained up to two weeks after. (Author)