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Effectiveness of e-learning to develop the ability to recognise and manage stroke

02 May 2021
Volume 13 · Issue 5



With stroke continuing to affect people in the UK and around the world, the need to develop health professionals in the management of patients with the condition and ensuring staff can meet the requirements of guidelines is key.


This study aimed to assess the effectiveness of e-learning to develop ambulance staff in the management of acute stroke and stroke mimics by looking at their engagement with the course and knowledge attainment.


A small-scale study focused on an e-learning course on stroke management and before and after questionnaires.


Participants demonstrated good engagement with the course. However, the before and after questionnaire results were mixed, with 46% of participants demonstrating an increase in their knowledge up to 6 weeks after undertaking the course, 32% remaining the same and 22% showing a decrease.


The data suggest more around the general approach to e-learning rather than on the topic of stroke management. Regardless of the course's content and its overall effectiveness, if students do not afford a suitable amount of time to engage with the learning materials, their ability to develop is greatly diminished.

Stroke is one of the leading causes of disability and death, with ‘approximately 100 000 people suffering a stroke within the UK each year’, which equates to around ‘one every 5 minutes’ (Stroke Association, 2018).

The condition has numerous outcomes, including disability and death, which affect family, carers and healthcare providers as well as the patients themselves, and it can recur (Ferguson et al, 2016). This has resulted in a continued focus on increasing national programmes to develop clinical knowledge around the prevention, identification and management of stroke and stroke-like symptoms (Stroke Association, 2015).

Through a variety of campaigns (e.g. FAST), the intention is that everybody should have a basic understanding of early warning signs to help identify a potential stroke and reduce its impact (Stroke Association, 2015; 2018). This then allows early assessment by health professionals such as ambulance staff to ascertain whether a patient is presenting with a stroke or an alternative complaint through reference to current guidelines, such as the Joint Royal Colleges Ambulance Liaison Committee (JRCALC) guidelines by the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) (2019), and those from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) (2019) and the Royal College of Physicians (2016). To facilitate enhanced assessments and initiate a treatment pathway, health professionals must be able to identify the key signs and symptoms (Wolf et al, 2016).

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