Description of research
Stroke can leave survivors experiencing psychological distress, including issues with emotions and anxiety. 'Living Well with Neurological Conditions' is a course developed by clinical psychologists. It involves eight weekly sessions, where people work in groups to learn strategies that help them adjust to, and accept, current experiences. Strategies include mindfulness exercises and support to identify important personal values and goals. NHS patients attending the course reported improved well-being. With some adaptation and testing, the course has potential to support stroke survivors experiencing psychological distress.
Aims of the research
- Adapt an existing group psychological support course to make it suitable for stroke.
- Test whether the adapted course can be successfully delivered; whether it is valued; and how to carry out a large-scale research study to test if it really works.
What will happen during the research?
- Development: Collaborate with healthcare professionals and stroke survivors to adapt the existing course for stroke. This includes developing a workbook to support attendance, and refining course content to make it suitable for stroke survivors with difficulties thinking and communicating. A workforce is needed to deliver the course so we will also develop a workforce training programme, suitable for professionals without formal clinical training.
- Early testing in community locations: Train a workforce (Stroke Association coordinators) and find stroke survivors to participate. Participants will be split into two groups at random: one group receives the adapted course; the other group receives an alternative. Everyone’s psychological well-being is measured before and after support, and again three months later. If successful, we will know whether a larger scale research study is possible and how it should be designed to robustly test whether the course does improve life after stroke.
What are the expected outcomes of the research?
- A tailored psychological support course for life-after-stroke.
- The information needed to seek funding for a large-scale research study to test its effectiveness.