Nurse-led stroke aftercare addressing long-term psychosocial outcome: a comparison to care-as-usual

D. P. J. Verberne, M. E. A. L. Kroese, J. Staals, R. W. H. M. Ponds, C. M. van Heugten

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Purpose: To examine whether nurse-led stroke aftercare is beneficial for long-term psychosocial outcome of community-dwelling persons with stroke. Materials and methods: Comparative effectiveness research design in which a prospective stroke aftercare cohort (n = 87) was compared to care-as-usual (n = 363) at six- and 12-months post stroke. Changes over time in cognitive and emotional problems experienced in daily life, fatigue and stroke impact on daily life were examined for stroke aftercare only. Multilevel modelling was used to compare stroke aftercare to care-as-usual concerning anxiety and depression symptoms, social participation and quality of life, over time. Results: Sample characteristics did not differ between cohorts except for stroke type and on average, more severe stroke in the stroke aftercare cohort (p < 0.05). Following stroke aftercare, anxiety and emotional problems decreased significantly (p < 0.05), whereas care-as-usual remained stable over time in terms of anxiety. No significant changes over time were observed on the other outcome domains. Conclusions: Nurse-led stroke aftercare showed to be beneficial for emotional well-being in comparison to care-as-usual. Providing psychoeducation and emotional support seem effective elements but adding other therapeutic elements such as self-management strategies might increase the effectiveness of nurse-led stroke aftercare.Implications for rehabilitation Routine stroke follow-up care should pay attention to psychosocial and emotional outcome in a systematic manner, in addition to secondary prevention. Healthcare professionals such as (specialized) nurses are needed to appropriately address the hidden cognitive and emotional consequences of stroke. Providing psychoeducation and emotional support in stroke aftercare diminish insecurities and worries in community-dwelling persons with stroke, leading to better outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability and rehabilitation
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020
Externally publishedYes

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