Public education strategies to increase awareness of stroke warning signs and the need to call 911

J Public Health Manag Pract. 2008 May-Jun;14(3):e17-22. doi: 10.1097/01.PHH.0000316496.78282.47.


Rapid identification and treatment of ischemic stroke can lead to improved patient outcomes. We implemented a 20-week public education campaign to increase community awareness of warning signs for stroke and the need to call 911. Telephone surveys were conducted in adults aged 45 years and older before and after the intervention to evaluate its impact. There was a significant increase in awareness of two or more warning signs for stroke from baseline to follow-up (67% to 83%). Awareness increased significantly among both men and women and younger and older respondents. There was no significant change in the proportion of respondents indicating that they would call 911 if they witnessed someone having a stroke (74% to 76%). However, after the campaign, an increased proportion of respondents indicated that they would call 911 if they experienced sudden speech problems (51% to 58%), numbness or loss of sensation (41% to 51%), or paralysis (46% to 59%) that would not go away. Our findings suggest that a high-intensity public education campaign can increase community awareness of the warning signs for stroke and the need to call 911.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Awareness*
  • Emergency Medical Service Communication Systems / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Education / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Montana
  • Program Evaluation
  • Stroke / physiopathology*