UNC Stroke Center aims to raise pediatric stroke awareness

The UNC Health Care Comprehensive Stroke Center has developed resources designed to educate both health care providers and parents about pediatric stroke. The information is available for free download on the Stroke Center’s website and 2,000 printed copies of the booklets and brochures will be delivered to hospitals across the state.

UNC Stroke Center aims to raise pediatric stroke awareness click to enlarge Nicole Burnett, RN, BSN, CNRN, SCRN

The project is funded by a grant from the North Carolina Stroke Care Collaborative.

Nicole Burnett, RN, BSN, CNRN, SCRN, stroke program coordinator, said the goal of developing these materials is to continue raising the awareness for pediatric stroke.

“While awareness is growing, there is still a lot of education that is needed around pediatric stroke,” Burnett said. “In children, stroke symptoms are often different than what we see in adults.”

The family-focused resource guide outlines the basics of stroke, signs, symptoms and treatment options. It also focuses on helping families navigate the long-term effects of pediatric stroke, offering a road map for the ongoing therapy that is often required.

“We want families to be aware of the available therapies and services as well as questions that they should be asking,” Burnett said.

The family resource guide contains photos of pediatric stroke patients, and testimonials and other information from their parents. Burnett said a member of the Stroke Center’s Advisory Board, who is the mother of a stroke patient, was a driving factor in the creation of these materials.

Pediatric stroke, Burnett said, often goes unrecognized or is misdiagnosed. The provider resource guide aims to alleviate that.

“When pediatric stroke goes undiagnosed, a patient not only misses the benefits of acute care, but also goes a period of time without the therapy and other resources that will aid in long term recovery,” Burnett said.

Burnett said that the Stroke Center hopes to incorporate the provider resources into CAST, an online platform developed to train providers on the latest standards of stroke care.

Burnett hopes these materials will be widely accessed.

“We feel that it is important that we make these resources available to anyone to access,” Burnett said. “Ultimately we hope that in cases of pediatric stroke, the family is aware enough of the signs and symptoms to call 911 and that the child gets to a facility that can handle his or her acute care and provide the resources and support the family needs.”