Spreading the Word about American Stroke and National High Blood Pressure Education Month

Managing high blood pressure is one of the most important steps to preventing a stroke. During May, a national focus is being made on both life-threatening conditions.

May is American Stroke Month and National High Blood Pressure Education Month. Healthcare providers are encouraged to increase public awareness of stroke risks and warning signs by educating patients and their loved ones about blood pressure control.

Education and awareness start with you and your staff, so roll up your sleeves and participate in at least one activity to raise awareness of high blood pressure. To everyone involved, select an activity with the help of your quality team, marketing department and/or health education team. To help you get started, we’ve brainstormed a number of activities; participate in one or more of the following:

Provide free high blood pressure education materials in your waiting rooms or during appointments with hypertensive patients. Knowledge is power. Equip patients with the knowledge they need to understand the dangers of high blood pressure, evaluate their own risk factors and work with their healthcare team to control the condition. The Million Hearts® Tools and Protocols page provides resources to enhance heart disease and stroke prevention and treatment efforts in your everyday work.

Post blood pressure signage in relevant clinic areas and/or play blood pressure videos in your waiting rooms. Consider posting a sign about accurate blood pressure measurement technique near the cuffs in patient exam rooms or a poster with your clinic’s goals in a staff lunch room. If your waiting room has a television display with the capability to stream video from the web or local files, play blood pressure videos. Million Hearts® and the American Heart Association have videos that educate patients about high blood pressure.

One good option is the Measure Up/Pressure Down® animated “Choose Your Path” patient video, in which a cartoon patient named Henry learns how he can have to very different results depending on what life choices are made. Your organization might have already produced a PSA or similar video about high blood pressure.

Follow and post social media content about Measure Up/Pressure Down® and high blood pressure. Spread the word to your organization’s social media fans and followers by following the Measure Up/Pressure Down® Twitter and Facebook accounts, sharing and retweeting the campaign’s high blood pressure information and posting your own messages. Sample social media messages can help get you started.

Host a blood pressure related training session for employees. Employee education can go beyond a brown bag lunch. Consider holding a formal training session for employees, such as training direct care staff on accurate blood pressure measurement technique or holding competency checks for staff who have already been trained. Watch the video “It Takes a Team” to reiterate the roles of different care team members in hypertension management – including receptionists, nurse managers and information technology and data staff – and lead a discussion on different topics mentioned in the film.

Create fun materials featuring blood pressure control messages. From stress balls and buttons to temporary tattoos and t-shirts, fun promotional materials can be cost-effective ways to engage patients and employees alike and keep blood pressure control top of mind. Use these giveaways as incentives or distribute them across your entire organization to generate buzz.

Remember, you don’t have to do every activity. Just getting involved in one of the suggested ways (or developing your own) will raise awareness about high blood pressure and move patients closer to blood pressure control and healthier lives.

Consider not limiting these actions to just May. Make them a part of daily or weekly activities that create sustainable change. Visit our Website or contact one of our Quality Improvement Advisors to see how we can assist. Qsource works with home health agencies, physician offices, clinics and other healthcare facilities to:

  • Spread evidence-based practices to promote the use of the ABCS—Aspirin therapy when appropriate, Blood pressure (BP) control, Cholesterol management and Smoking assessment and cessation.
  • Identify racial and ethnic minority Medicare beneficiaries and dual-eligible Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries to improve their use of the ABCS.

Go here for a list of QI advisors dedicated to providing you with technical assistance to improve cardiac health in your community.