Nursing Interventions in Stroke Rehabilitation: A Study of Nurses' Views of Their Pattern of Care in Stroke Units


  • Stephen E. O'Connor PhD RN C FEd

    Corresponding authorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Stephen E. O'Connor is a lecturer in nursing at the University of Southampton School of Nursing and Midwifery in Southampton, England.

School of Nursing and Midwifery, ‘C’ Level, South Block, General Hospital, Tremona Road, Southampton, Hants, S016 6YD, England or S.E.O'


The care given to stroke patients in acute care general wards has been described as of a poor standard, with resultant poor outcomes. Systematic reviews have established the benefits of stroke units on patient, outcomes such as functional ability and mortality. The trials have also hypothesized on the reasons for such improvements. One explanation is that the establishment of an interested, enthusiastic, and specialized nursing workforce within a stroke unit improves levels of care and hence, outcomes. However, there has been no research to identify the nature of the nursing care that is provided. To identify the nursing interventions of such a work force, we asked 90 nurses in 21 stroke units about the care that they provide for stroke patients and their caregivers. Our study suggests that nursing interventions in stroke care can be discussed within the criteria and concepts of six themes—focus of care, outcomes of care, direct care, continuity of care, mode of care, and context of care. These themes are dependent on one another for the successful delivery of the care that the nurses expect to deliver. The implications of these findings for the delivery and organization of rehabilitative nursing care are discussed.