• stroke;
  • cerebral vascular accident;
  • rehabilitation;
  • patient information needs;
  • carers;
  • computerized data base development

Providing appropriate information to patients and carers following a stroke This paper reports on a study which sought to identify the information needs of patients and their informal carers at various stages post-stroke with the aim of developing a database from which individualized information packages could be provided. The study used in-depth qualitative interviews with a total of 31 interviewees (both patients and carers) to explore information needs at three different points post-stroke: during hospitalization; up to 1 month post-discharge; and 2–12 months post-discharge. The information needs identified related to: recovery, treatment and prognosis; practical caring tasks; social activities; and resources available in the community. The study indicated that the information needs of patients and carers following stroke are not currently met and a desire for individualized information was identified. It is concluded that it may not be possible to meet patients’ and carers’ desire for information about recovery and prognosis but that a customized database covering the other areas highlighted by this study would facilitate improved information provision. It is anticipated that the process of providing such packages would improve communication within the rehabilitation team.