Author(s): Burton C, Gibbon B
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Abstract AIMS: This paper reports a study evaluating whether expanding a specialist nursing role to provide outreach education and support to stroke patients and carers after discharge from hospital is effective in promoting recovery. BACKGROUND: Building therapeutic relationships with patients and carers is a key component of the nursing role in stroke rehabilitation, although this is limited by the constraints of service organization. METHODS: A pragmatic randomized controlled trial was undertaken. Patients with a diagnosis of stroke were randomized to receive continued support from a stroke nurse (n = 87) or usual care and follow-up (n = 89) after discharge from hospital. Patients were recruited from two hospitals in the north-west of England from November 1999 to April 2001. Patient dependence (Barthel Index), general health (Nottingham Health Profile), activities of living (Frenchay Activity of Living Index), depression (Beck Depression Inventory) and carer strain (Carer Strain Index) were assessed at 3 and 12 months after stroke. RESULTS: The continued intervention of a stroke nurse after discharge was associated with improved patient perceptions of general health at 12 months (median difference 42.6, P = 0.012), and in particular reduced negative emotional reaction (P = 0.037) and perceived social isolation (P = 0.002). In addition, the intervention reduced carer strain at 3 months (P = 0.045), and reduced deterioration in physical dependence from 3 to 12 months (P = 0.049). CONCLUSION: The provision of continued intervention from a stroke nurse after discharge from hospital, focusing on education and support, has tangible benefits for patients and carers.
This article was published in J Adv Nurs
and referenced in Journal of Nursing & Care