Stroke Education for Siouxland 5th graders

Local 5th graders learn about strokes and disabilities that accompany them

This spring, Mercy Medical Center partnered with Siouxland schools to provide stroke education to area fifth graders.

When someone suffers a stroke, the symptoms develop within hours.

5th grade students took just one hour to learn about strokes and the signs of them.

"Fifth grade is really the optimal age. They are learning about themselves, their bodies, and how to take care of themselves," says Nicole Shea, Stroke Program Manager with Mercy Medical Center. "They're also starting to make some of those food decisions. It's really a good time for them to be aware of making those decisions."

Mercy Medical Center provides many materials for stroke education, but Nicole Shea and her team extend that education to local students.

"Most of the time, they are very aware of how to use a phone," says Shea. "They know how to call 911, so if we can teach them how to recognize symptoms or signs of stroke, we can teach them how to call 911 and get someone to help."

During the presentation, students learn the signs of a stroke, but they then take those lessons and apply them to day-to-day tasks with disability demonstrations, reducing the use of their dominant arm.

Teachers enjoy seeing their students learn with these demonstrations, and also having their questions answered.

When Katie Hanson, 5th grade teacher at Holy Cross, was asked what a big takeaway was, she replied, "Learning all the symptoms of a stroke, so if they see those they know what to do and they are just aware of what it is and what they can do to help."

"I'm hoping every year we can add another school so that eventually we are teaching all of the Sioux City schools and start adding surrounding schools," says Shea. "And I hope we prevent strokes in younger generations."

For completing the program, each student received a ticket for the Sioux City Explorer's "Strike Out Stroke" Night at their May 30th baseball game.

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