Stroke education: Retention effects in those at low- and high-risk of stroke
Objective: Relatively few studies have tracked retention effects of stroke education in low- and high-risk groups. Such information is important to improve the design of stroke prevention programs.
Methods: Low-risk participants were 29 individuals aged less than 50 years. The frequency of risk factors within the sample was defined as "high" if 30% or more of participants in that group had that risk. Only one stroke risk factor was present at this level in the low-risk group. The high-risk group was 44 individuals aged 50 years or over, with 4 stroke risk factors present at this level. Stroke knowledge was tested on three occasions: baseline, post-education and retention. Education consisted of reading a published stroke brochure.
Results: Stroke knowledge improved over time, from baseline to post-education, but not from post-education to retention. The performance of both groups increased, but there was a differential learning effect: low-risk participants learned more than high risk participants. Important information was learned and included details such when TIA symptoms dissipate. This particular issue was one about which both groups knew little at baseline (less than 15% of combined sample answered this item correctly), but post-education at least 75% of participants got this question correct.
Conclusion: Both low- and high- risk individuals can learn information about stroke and retain it over the short term. The 'durable' effects in learning observed in this study are important because the benefit of brochure-only approaches to education have not yet been convincingly demonstrated.
Practice implications: Information about stroke from education brochures is retained by at risk populations for at least one-week.
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