In the UK, health policy recommends that stroke survivors should be reviewed at six-weeks, six-months and at one year after their stroke1,2. However, reviews are carried out differently across the UK and the process has not been properly evaluated. This study explored the review process, focusing on the six-month review. Three sites were selected in England. We interviewed stroke survivors and their carers at six-weeks, six-months, and where possible one year after coming home from hospital. We also observed their reviews and interviewed clinicians, managers and commissioners. We interviewed 46 stroke survivors, 30 carers and 28 professionals.
We found that reviews carried out by stroke nurses were focused on medical issues whereas those completed by a Stroke Association co-ordinator were more focused on social issues. Professionals usually saw the review as an opportunity to follow-up on issues that needed to be dealt with and signpost to other services. However, stroke survivors’ experience of the review was influenced by their experiences in hospital, their understanding of rehabilitation and their relationships with clinicians. They identified different priorities to those of reviewers, particularly when they had other long-term conditions.
Overall, most people found the six-month review helpful but not the six-week or the yearly review. Rather than having the review at set intervals, it would be more helpful if it coincided with coming home from hospital and after community rehabilitation has finished. Reviews need to link with what has gone before, for example, information on preventing another stroke. It would also be helpful to review therapy goals and encourage stroke survivors to set their own new goals for the next stage of their recovery.
Further information: V.J.Abrahamson@kent.ac.uk or @vabrahamsonUoK
Department of Health (2007). National Stroke Strategy [Online]. Available from: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/www.dh.gov.uk/en/Healthcare/Longtermconditions/Vascular/Stroke/DH_099065.
Royal College of Physicians (2016). National Clinical Guidelines for Stroke. Intercollegiate Stroke Working Party. Fifth Edition [Online]. Available from: https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/guidelines-policy/stroke-guidelines.