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Keywords:

  • behaviour modification;
  • exercise;
  • health maintenance;
  • hypertension;
  • patient teaching;
  • smoking;
  • stress;
  • stroke

Developing realistic treatment standards in today’s economic climate: stroke survivor education

Teaching people about the risk factors and early symptom identification of stroke significantly decreases the incidence of both first time and recurrent strokes. Patient teaching has traditionally been a nursing responsibility. However, in the fiscal constraints of today’s health care delivery system, nurses’ time for teaching is highly restricted. This pilot study was designed to evaluate the impact of a short 1½ hour stroke education programme in a population of hospitalized stroke survivors prior to their discharge. The first session focused on the disease process of stroke and its warning signs. A second session addressed risk factors and behavioural strategies for exercise, stress management, or smoking cessation. Responses to the teaching programme were evaluated through patient interviews immediately following the teaching session and 3 weeks later. Responses indicated that short-session patient teaching, in and of itself, is not always successful in changing behaviour but is successful for knowledge attainment. The findings from this pilot study suggests a need to consider new teaching strategies and a need to identify opportunities for reinforcement, support and encouragement that will meet the realities of today’s time constraints while still meeting our professional responsibilities for patient education.