A randomized trial to evaluate an education programme for patients and carers after stroke

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Abstract

Objectives

To evaluate the effectiveness of an education programme for patients and carers recovering from stroke.

Design

Randomized controlled trial.

Subjects and setting

One hundred and seventy patients admitted to a stroke rehabilitation unit and 97 carers of these patients.

Interventions

The intervention group received a specifically designed stroke information manual and were invited to attend education meetings every two weeks with members of their multidisciplinary team. The control group received usual practice.

Measures

Primary outcome was knowledge of stroke and stroke services. Secondary outcomes were handicap (London Handicap Scale), physical function (Barthel Index), social function (Frenchay Activities Index), mood (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale) and satisfaction (Pound Scale). Carer mood was measured by the General Health Questionnaire-28.

Results

There was no statistical evidence for a treatment effect on knowledge but there were trends that favoured the intervention. The education programme was associated with a significantly greater reduction in patient anxiety score at both three months (p = 0.034) and six months (p =0.021) and consequently fewer ‘cases’ (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale anxiety subscale score ≥ 11). There were no other significant statistical differences between the patient or carer groups for other outcomes, although there were trends in favour of the education programme.

Conclusion

An education programme delivered within a stroke unit did not result in improved knowledge about stroke and stroke services but there was a significant reduction in patient anxiety at six months post stroke onset.

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