University of Nottingham
Scientific title
Optimising Psychoeducation for Transient Ischaemic Attack and Minor Stroke Management (OPTIMISM study)
Principal Investigator
Dr Eirini Kontou (Postdoctoral Fellow)
Year awarded
Grant value
Research ID
TSA PDF 2015-01
Research area
Start date
Thursday 1 October 2015
End date
Friday 31 January 2020
4 years 4 months

About Eirini:  

Eirini is a chartered psychologist, with a long-standing interest in stroke rehabilitation and in psychosocial difficulties following physical health conditions. She holds both a doctorate (PhD) in Applied Psychology from the University of Nottingham, and a doctorate in Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy) from the University of Sheffield.

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Description of research

Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA), also called ‘mini-stroke’ is characterised by short-lasting symptoms that generally do not cause permanent damage.

‘Minor stroke’ is a term used to describe a stroke with mild and non-disabling symptoms. TIA and minor stroke patients account for more than half of all cases of stroke, and they are at a higher risk to suffer a major stroke.

Currently, management of TIA and minor stroke patients is mainly focused on identifying and reducing risk factors that could cause a later stroke. Although, after a TIA or minor stroke, people often have limited access to further specialist support from stroke-specific rehabilitation services.

There is variability in the level of recovery and severity of symptoms after TIA and minor stroke, and there is evidence that these patients may experience difficulties that affect their quality of life, including anxiety and depression.


This fellowship aims to develop, tailor and target the delivery of a 6-week group intervention that offers educational, psychological and social support for people following TIA and minor stroke. A three-stage research programme is proposed which involves:

  • Group and individual discussions with service users and healthcare professionals to determine the content of the intervention.
  • A summary of published research studies on the psychological and social impact of TIA and minor stroke.
  • A small-scale clinical trial to find out if the proposed intervention is feasible to conduct in an NHS setting and if acceptable to TIA/ minor stroke patients.

Findings will inform the development of a larger trial and will determine if the content and delivery of the intervention meets the needs of people who have had a TIA and/or a minor stroke.


This fellowship seeks to establish whether a brief intervention, delivered in a group format that offers educational and psychological support, has the potential to improve the quality of life for TIA and minor stroke patients.

Full details can be found on the OPTIMISM study webpage.

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