Sunday, June 3, 2012

5th Grade Education

Lindsay Kwok's Grand Prize Winning Poster
 Retreat and Refresh Stroke Camp recently completed its fourth year of doing stroke education in fifth grade classes in and around Peoria, IL.  This year we visited nine schools and spoke to 25 classrooms.  That is a total of about 650 fith grade students and teachers who now know more about stroke than the average American does!

The classes run between 45 minutes and an hour each and have multiple components.  We start by introducing everyone - nurses, students, stroke survivors/caregivers, etc...  Then we ask how many of the students know someone who has had a stroke.  You would be shocked by the number of hands that go up!  Many of the students have stories to tell about how their grandma/pa, aunt, uncle, etc... who have had strokes.  However, not many students know the warning signs and symptoms of a stroke.

That's where our nurse/s or nursing students come in!  They teach the students about what a stroke is, the different kinds of stroke, and two different ways to tell if a person is having a stroke.  Do you know all the warning signs and symptoms??

We teach them to "Gimme 5":

1. Walk - Can the person walk? Do they walk funny or stumble?
2. Talk - Is the person able to talk normally?  Do they understand what you are saying?  Do they
    mumble or talk gibberish?  Do they have slurred speech?
3. Reach - Are they able to reach up with both arms and hold both arms up for 10 seconds?  Does one arm  start to drift downward?
4. See - Do they have double vision?  Do they have tunnel vision?  Can they only see on one side?
5. Feel - Are they experiencing tingling or numbness, particularly on one side?  Do they have the
    worst headache of their lives?

We also teach them to act F.A.S.T.:

F - Face-ask the person to smile.  Do both sides of their mouth go up?  Or does one side droop?
A - Arms-ask the person to hold up both arms for 10 seconds with their eyes closed.  Does one arm
      drift or fall downward?
S - Speech-ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.  Are they able to correctly repeat the
      sentence?  Do they mumble or sound like they are speaking a foreign language?  Do they
      understand what you are asking them to do?
T - Time. If ANY of these are not right, call 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY!  Don't let them take a nap and
      hope it will get better and don't wait to call the doctor.  They need immediate medical attention.

Time Lost = Brain Lost.

We emphasize with the students that a stroke can happen to anyone at any age of any race or ethnicity, although the risk increases with age. 

Then we have our stroke survivor and/or caregiver tell his/her stroke story.  The students always have some really great questions for them.  A common question is: What does it feel like to have a stroke?   After that, the students each participate in one disability simulation where they have to complete a task using only their non-dominate hand.  Tasks include things such as putting on and fastening a belt, putting on and buttoning a button down shirt, putting on a sock and shoe and tying the shoe, folding laundry, packing a book bag for school and zipping it, etc...  The students learn very quickly that completing these tasks with only one hand takes longer than usual and they have to be creative (adapt) in order to be successful.  The take home message is that stroke survivors are not dumb and they are not stupid!  They just might be slower at things because the stroke has effected their brain and possibly their motor coordination.

Collin Stratton's runner-up poster from Peoria Christian Middle School.  
We also teach them about prevention: eat healthy, exercise, and DON'T SMOKE!  Each student is given a poster and is instructed to create an educational poster about stroke.  We judge based on content, accuracy (spelling counts!), neatness, and creativity.  Our panel of judges selects the top three posters from each class and those students each get a gift card to Wal-Mart (a big thank you to the Pilot Club of Peoria for donating toward the gift cards).  The grand prize winner gets to ride in the Life Flight helicopter and land in center field at the Peoria Chiefs game on our Strike Out Stroke day-June 10, 2012!!!  All winning posters will be displayed on the O'Brien Field walls at the game on the 10th.

We would like to thank the Illinois Neurological Institute, in particular nurses Jan Jahnel and Teresa Swanson-Devlin for helping with and sponsoring these education classes since their inception.  We would also like to thank Jordan Jason and Kendra Zerwekh, students from the Methodist College of Nursing, who helped at some of the schools this year.  Without the assistance of INI and Methodist, these classes would not be possible.

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