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Community stroke knowledge: a new information strategy using a joint project of the public health service and the hairdressers' guild of the Wesel district

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  • Political Science
  • Politikwissenschaft
  • Stroke Prevention
  • "Healthy Lower Rhine ... Against Stroke"
  • Hairdressers Imparting Health Information
  • Gesundheitspolitik
  • Health Policy
  • Communication
  • Design
  • Economics
  • Medicine


Objectives: The public health programme “Healthy Lower Rhine…against Stroke” is aimed at improving the population’s knowledge about stroke and thus at reducing the prehospital phase in patients with suspected stroke. First evaluation results indicate that apart from providing information through the mass media, there is an urgent need to further develop the face-to-face communication approach. This has to be achieved by efficient but also effective means, given that financial and personnel resources are scarce. Study design: In cooperation with lögd Bielefeld, the Lower Health Authority of the Wesel District (health department) developed a postcard-sized quiz card containing exclusively correct answers on the issue of stroke, risk factors as well as symptom and action knowledge. For face-to-face communication, the hairdressers could be convinced to be included in the project. The hairdressers posed the corresponding questions and marked those answers of the clients that were identical with the quiz card answers with a cross. Answers not given by the clients were read out loud to them by the hairdressers, who were thus “styling up” the knowledge of their clients. To increase participation in the project, prizes were offered for the hairdressers with the most filled-in quiz cards as well as for three of the participating clients (drawing of prizes 1–3). More than 380 hairdressers in the Wesel district were sent a letter inviting them to participate as facilitators in this project, which is probably the first of its kind worldwide. Methods: The machine-readable quiz cards were collected and statistically evaluated including data regarding age and gender of the participants. Results were to be presented in the form of a descriptive statistic. Results: Thirty-three hairdressers from 12 cities and municipalities of the Wesel district participated in this joint action of the Wesel district Department of Health and the Wesel hairdressers’ guild, dealing with the monitoring and imparting of basic knowledge on the issue of stroke. Almost 2,000 clients were interviewed by the participating hairdressers, and knowledge gaps were closed by information read out to them. Discussion: This innovative approach of imparting knowledge can be regarded as the model of an effective and economical way of communicating health information to the broader public.

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