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A Facilitator's Guide

for the Know Stroke Community Education Kit and Video

The Public Health Impact of Stroke

Stroke places a major burden on our society in death, disability, and economic costs. Annually, about 795,000 new strokes are reported in the United States, costing an estimated $43 billion. Stroke is the third leading cause of death and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in adults. If you or someone you know experiences the symptoms of stroke, call 911. Getting to the hospital immediately and getting treatment can prevent disability.


The National Institutes of Health through the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) developed the Know Stroke campaign to help educate the public about the symptoms of stroke and the importance of getting to the hospital quickly. By showing the enclosed videotape and distributing the Know Stroke materials provided in this kit, you can help reduce the enormous personal and economic toll that stroke takes.

Know Stroke. Know the Signs. Act in Time. is an informative, upbeat, 8 minute video that teaches audiences about the symptoms of stroke and the need to react quickly if someone is having a stroke. The video is aimed at a general audience and includes interviews with medical experts, as well as stories from patients who have successfully recovered from a stroke.

The video can be shown in a wide variety of settings, including assisted living and retirement communities, senior citizen centers, hospitals, health clinics, health fairs, community and church meetings, and clubs and associations.

Please preview the video today. Then schedule your first stroke awareness program as soon as possible — because what you do can make the difference between a life of disability or a life of full recovery from stroke.

Because stroke injures the brain, you may not realize that you are having a stroke. To a bystander, someone having a stroke may just look unaware or confused. Stroke victims have the best chance if someone around them recognizes the symptoms and acts quickly.


Whether you plan to schedule a special showing of the Know Stroke video or include it as part of a larger meeting, the tips and materials in this guide will help make your presentation a success.

Choose a setting.

It may be best to show the video in small group meetings - in churches, community centers, or health clinics. If you choose a public place, make sure it has restrooms, adequate parking, and accommodations for people who are disabled. The location should be as convenient as possible for everyone. The venue should also have a room that can be darkened while the video is playing.

Decide on the size and format for the program.

You may want to invite a local stroke expert or a panel of experts to speak and answer questions. Before the program, make sure your speakers have time to view the video. You may want to set up several presentations of the video on the same day for different groups. Allow enough time at each presentation to talk about stroke, watch the video, and have a discussion afterwards. Decide if you will offer refreshments.

Pick a date.

The date you choose should give you plenty of time to make arrangements and take care of the little things that may arise unexpectedly. Make sure the date and time are good for your speaker(s) and for the people who will want to attend.

Arrange for equipment.

You will need a VCR (video cassette recorder) connected to a standard television set (19†or larger) to show this VHS video. If you expect a large audience, you may want to set up two or more television sets (monitors). All these monitors can be hooked up to one VCR. Also, if you have a large group, you may want to have a microphone for the speaker(s). Make sure to have someone available who is experienced at setting up all the equipment you will be using.

Think about materials to hand out.

Have plenty of copies of the Know Stroke brochure and other materials. You may order additional copies by calling 1-800-352-9424. There may be other materials available from your speaker or local stroke resources. A number of national organizations are listed at the end of this section.

Publicize your program.

If you are inviting only a few people, you can invite each of them personally. But if you are planning for a larger group (more than 15), or choose to create broad awareness for the program, you may want to publicize your event.

Use the posters provided with this kit. Three weeks before your event, mail or hand out copies of the poster to the people you are inviting. You can also display a poster in places where your target audience is likely to see it: senior citizen centers, community centers, libraries, health clinics, hospitals, or clubs. Be sure to get permission before doing so.

Consider working with your local media to publicize the program. Many community newspapers and local cable companies run weekly health event calendars that are likely to list your stroke awareness program if you send them the necessary information. Check with your local media outlets for their requirements. In general, you should submit your listings about a month before your event. Many radio stations, particularly public radio stations, carry announcements of community events so you may want to contact them as well.

If you want to promote stroke awareness beyond the audience for your event, you should contact health reporters from local newspapers and television stations. Try to interest them in doing a feature story about stroke symptoms and treatments, perhaps profiling a patient who has a success story to share. If you write to them, be sure to call to follow-up.

What to do on the day of your event.

Set up the VCR, television monitor, and sound equipment well before the scheduled time of your program. Make sure there are enough chairs in the room, and know where to find more if you need them. Set up enough tables for hand-out materials, a sign-in sheet if you want one, and refreshments if you are providing them. Locate the light switches and assign someone to operate them when the video is shown. Do a final check of the following:

  • Make sure the VCR can take a VHS video.
  • Check that the television monitor and VCR are hooked up and working properly.
  • Make sure the television monitor can be seen and heard by all the guests.
  • If your speakers are using a microphone, make sure it is operating correctly and can be heard throughout the room.
    You may also want to have a pitcher of water and glasses for your speakers.
  • Make sure that all handouts are ready for distribution.
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