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Keywords:

  • community;
  • longer-term;
  • rehabilitation;
  • stroke

Rationale

Despite recognition of the importance of the longer-term consequences of stroke, services addressing these needs remain poorly developed. There are persuasive arguments that a community-based orientation to poststroke care, to assess, support, and coordinate relevant services, might be more helpful in minimizing longer-term stroke morbidity. To address this, an evidence-based system of care has been developed that aims to meet the longer-term needs for stroke survivors and their carers living at home in the community.

Aims

The study aims to evaluate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of a purposely developed system of care for stroke patients and their carers living in the community.

Design

This is a cluster randomized, controlled trial. The trial aimed to recruit 800 patients (and their carers, if appropriate) in 32 stroke services across the United Kingdom. The system of care is delivered by health professionals undertaking a community-based liaison or coordinating role for stroke patients (termed ‘stroke care coordinators’). Stroke care coordinators in stroke services randomized to the intervention group were trained to deliver the system of care, while those randomised to the control group continued to deliver current practice.

Study outcomes

The primary outcome is patient emotional health measured using the General Health Questionnaire 12 at six-months after recruitment. Secondary outcomes include cost-effectiveness, patient functional health and carer emotional health, with final follow-up at 12 months.

Current status

Thirty-two stroke services were randomized and 800 patients and 208 carers were recruited from 29 services. Follow-up is ongoing, and trial results are expected in early 2013.