Stroke Association Priority Programme Award (The SUPERB Trial)
Description of research
This project aims to find out if peer support can avert some of the adverse psychological consequences of aphasia: the language and communication disorder that affects about 15% of stroke survivors.
Stroke survivors with long-term aphasia will be trained as peer befrienders. They'll be paired with individuals with aphasia who have had more recent stroke, so they can offer conversation and help with problem solving and social activities. The peer befrienders will start visiting participants with aphasia soon after they're discharged from hospital, and will visit them between six to eight times.
The study will use a randomised controlled design, and sixty participants with aphasia will be recruited. All will receive the usual care offered by their Trust, but half (selected randomly) will also receive peer support.
The aim of the study is to find out if those who receive peer support adjust better to life with stroke and aphasia than those who don't.
Participants will complete questionnaires on mood, confidence and social activity, several times during the study. Significant others, such as spouses, will also complete questionnaires. This will show whether those who are close to stroke survivors also feel the benefits of peer support.
Participants and significant others will be interviewed to gain insight into their experiences, and the personal significance of any changes. Costs of usual care and peer support (economic evaluation) will also be calculated to identify the added value of peer support.
Possible benefits to those who provide peer support will also be explored (the peer befrienders) by interviewing them and testing their mood and feelings of self-esteem.
If the project suggests peer befriending will improve psychological and social outcomes for the participants and their significant others, this could warrant further research and lead to incorporation into routine care.