Background: Patient navigation is a community-based intervention designed to help clients identify and overcome barriers to care. Navigation is a widely used, evidence-based model for patient-centered healthcare. It is well documented that stroke survivors and caregivers face enormous obstacles in returning to their community living situations post-stroke.
Purpose: National Stroke Association’s Stroke Recovery Navigator Program is designed to reduce barriers to care, lower incidence of secondary stroke, eliminate re-hospitalization due to post-stroke conditions, and provide support for adjusting to community living.
Method: National Stroke Association implemented a pilot program to determine if navigation is an effective intervention for stroke survivors and caregivers. Clients were referred to the program upon discharge from partner hospitals. Clients completed either the Reintegration to Normal Living Index (RTNLI) or the Zarit Screening Measure of Caregiver Burden (respectively) at enrollment and at graduation.
Results: The Stroke Recovery Navigator Program received 180 referrals with 90 clients converted to active participation. Stroke survivors made up 82% of participants and caregivers 18%. RTNLI scores went up and Caregiver Burden scores went down when clients received navigation services. During the pilot phase, 12 stroke survivors were re-hospitalized, 4 for stroke-related issues; 8 for new medical issues. Post-pilot evaluations of participants showed that 95% of respondents believe the program provides a valuable service. Referral source surveys revealed that more than half of their patients received information about the program at discharge.
Conclusions: Navigation for stroke survivors and caregivers shows increased reintegration to normal living and reduced caregiver burden scores. Clients receiving navigation were re-hospitalized below the levels documented in recent studies. Based on these findings National Stroke Association concludes that navigation post-stroke results in positive outcomes for survivors, caregivers and hospitals.