Quebec City A community-based health promotion program delivered by over 500 peer volunteers significantly reduces heart disease and stroke in seniors, Canadian Stroke Network researcher Dr. Janusz Kaczorowski told the Canadian Stroke Congress today.
As part of the Cardiovascular Health Awareness Program (CHAP), family physicians in 20 mid-sized Ontario communities invited patients aged 65 and over to attend risk assessment sessions held at local pharmacies over a 10 week period.
Over 15,000 residents took part in the program.
"Volunteer-led risk assessments combined with health information and linkages to primary care providers and community resources led to an impressive nine percent reduction in their rates of hospitalization for stroke, heart attack, and congestive heart failure," says Dr. Kaczorowski, from the University of British Columbia and the Child and Family Research Institute.
The Program, co-developed by Drs. Kaczorowski, Lisa Dolovich, and Larry Chambers from McMaster University and the Elisabeth Bruyere Research Institute, received the Canadian Stroke Congress Chair's Award for Impact, awarded to the research study presented at Congress which was judged to have the most impact on preventing or treating stroke.
The CHAP team randomly selected 39 communities and stratified them by location and population size. Twenty communities received CHAP. Nineteen communities served as controls and did not receive the program.
In the CHAP communities, over 500 trained peer volunteers met with the residents to check blood pressure, review the warning signs of stroke and heart attack, look at risk factors, and promote blood pressure control and healthy living.
"CHAP is a unique, low cost way to activate community organizations, volunteers, health care providers, and the participants themselves," says Dr. Kaczorowski.
Pharmacists were onsite as part of the primary care team to discuss con
|Contact: Jane-Diane Fraser|
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada