Problems of mood, thinking and memory are common after a stroke. There has been limited research around these issues. This work aims to answer fundamental questions around who develops these problems and how they recover.
The first step towards managing problems is recognition. Guidelines recommend assessing for emotional, thinking and memory problems in the first days following a stroke. However, there is no consensus on how to do this.
What will the researchers do?
At present, researchers and clinicians are using a variety of different assessments. The researchers will study various tests and assess if they are accurate; suitable for busy stroke units and acceptable to patients. This will allow them to give definitive recommendations on the tests best suited to stroke units.
We know very little about how mood, memory, thinking change after stroke. We will follow stroke survivors over 18 months; testing mood, memory and thinking regularly and looking for patterns of recovery. We are particularly interested in factors that are associated with future problems of mood, thinking and memory. If we can predict who will develop problems, we can use these findings to offer increased psychological follow-up and support to those at risk.
We suspect that early recognition of issues may identify people who need support or treatment. However, indiscriminate testing may have unintended harmful effects. Some people with important problems may be missed and others may be wrongly diagnosed and treated inappropriately. We want to talk to people who have experienced stroke and learn about their experiences of being tested and treated for emotional, memory and thinking problems.
What difference could this research make?
This research will improve how we look for and look after emotional, thinking and memory problems - helping clinical teams give the best care to individual patients; assisting policy-makers in planning future stroke services and helping researchers plan future studies of treatments.