Delays in seeking treatment for stroke care are associated with greater disability and reductions
in stroke outcomes. The objective of this study was to qualitatively examine facilitators and barriers to
urgently seeking stroke-related care.
A qualitative analytic approach was used to explore
facilitators and barriers to seeking stroke care in an urgent manner. Sixty-four stroke survivors offered
information related to facilitators and barriers to stroke care via a structured survey as part of a larger
mixed-methods study designed to measure stroke outcomes.
Three themes emerged related to
facilitators and barriers: (a) recognition of symptoms, (b) social support, and (c) knowledge and ability
to call emergency medical services as a first response. Facilitators to urgent care-seeking behaviors included
classic stroke symptoms, severe symptoms, sudden symptom onset, and high perceived level of emergency.
Social support and knowledge/ability to call emergency medical services also emerged as facilitators of urgent
care. Barriers to urgent care-seeking behaviors included atypical symptoms, mild symptoms, gradual
symptom onset, and low perceived level of emergency.
Individuals who experience strokes
face a number of facilitators and barriers to seeking urgent care for their condition. Facilitators and barriers
are associated with stroke symptoms and their personal environments. Additional study of barriers to
stroke care is needed to adequately design interventions to reduce delays in seeking treatment.