Postdoctoral Fellow: Dr Eirini Kontou
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.
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 for 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 that 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 a 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 of TIA and minor stroke patients.