Talking about recovery after stroke: How do we do it, and how can we do better?


Objectives and brief methodology

Patients and their relatives describe dissatisfaction with information about recovery outlook following stroke, including how much recovery might take place and when it might be expected. These issues often arise during rehabilitation, but research suggests that stroke unit staff lack the confidence and skills to discuss recovery and may avoid doing so. However, information about recovery is important for stroke survivors and their families, because it helps them make decisions about their life after stroke and future care. This study aims to develop an intervention involving strategies for staff to help them to discuss recovery with stroke survivors and families in a way that meets their needs.

The aim of the study is to develop an intervention to enable multidisciplinary team members (including therapists, nurses and doctors) to discuss recovery in a format that meets the needs of stroke survivors and their families, and is feasible to deliver in clinical practice. The project will involve two systematic reviews to identify what can be learned from other neurological conditions; the first will identify strategies to discuss recovery in neurological conditions, and their effectiveness; the second systematic review will explore stroke survivors’, caregivers’ and healthcare professionals’ views relating to discussing recovery and prognosis in acquired neurological conditions. A qualitative study will explore current practice in two stroke units, using observations and interviews to understand the views and experiences of stroke survivors, their caregivers and staff. The information collected from the systematic reviews and qualitative study will be summarised and presented to groups of former patients, caregivers and stroke staff. In these groups, stroke survivors, caregivers and staff will be facilitated to work together using coproduction methods, to develop an intervention designed to support staff to engage more effectively in discussions about recovery. The intervention may include guidance on how to identify how much information about recovery the stroke survivor and their family may wish to receive, the timing of information provision, and how to frame conversations. Overall, the project will develop an evidence-based and patient-informed intervention to guide staff to discuss recovery effectively.

Partners & Collaborators

Lead Researcher:
Louisa-Jane Burton

Academic Supervisors:
Dr Judith Johnson
Dr Tom Crocker
Prof Anne Forster


01/09/2017 – 31/03/2021

Funding agency

The Stroke Association’s Postgraduate Fellowship Scheme (ref: TSA PGF 2017-02)

Further information

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