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How unmet are unmet needs post-stroke? A policy analysis of the six-month review

Abrahamson, V., Wilson, Patricia M. (2019) How unmet are unmet needs post-stroke? A policy analysis of the six-month review. BMC Health Services Research, 19 (1). Article Number 480. ISSN 1472-6963. (doi:10.1186/s12913-019-4210-2) (KAR id:75341)


Background: Stroke is the fourth largest cause of death in the UK and a leading cause of death and disability worldwide. Policy recommends reviewing patients at six-months post-stroke to identify unmet needs but lacks evidence of effectiveness. This study explored needs identified by patients, how they were addressed by the six-month review (6MR) and whether or not policy aspirations for the review were substantiated by the data. Methods: A multiple case study design underpinned by critical realism. Data sources included interviews with 46 patients and 28 professionals across three sites in the South East Coast of England. Patients’ interviews coincided with their reviews of which twenty-nine were observed. Thematic analysis of interviews, observations and policy documents was carried out within and across sites. Results: There were ‘hotspots’ in the care pathway where patients and carers felt particularly unsupported. Whilst these gaps exacerbated anxiety, they were neither universal nor ameliorated by review. Patients consistently identified unmet needs related to rehabilitation, information/education and support. Stroke nurse specialists focused on investigations, medication and liaising with general practitioners or consultants while the Stroke Association co-ordinator focused on sign-posting to other services and provision of generic information which not all respondents found helpful. The remit of review was more modest than that of policy aspirations. Conclusions: The review rests on two causal assumptions: that identifying unmet need will lead to its amelioration; and that provision of information will lead to behaviour change and self-management. While there was some evidence to support the former, there was almost none for the latter. The 6MR would benefit from a patient-led approach to its timing and format; a consistent and individualised approach to stroke education and self-management that is embedded across the care pathway; and targeting reviews should be considered.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1186/s12913-019-4210-2
Uncontrolled keywords: Stroke rehabilitation, Six-month review, Health and social care, Self-management
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research > Centre for Health Services Studies
Depositing User: Vanessa Abrahamson
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2019 09:19 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 16:02 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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