Category Archives: Communication

Caregivers and Stroke

September 2017: Krieger et al. (2017) Developing a complex intervention program for informal caregivers of stroke survivors: The Caregivers’ Guide. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 31(1), 146-156. DOI 10.1111/scs.12344

Yet again, I had the honour of presenting to therapists on stroke recovery; this time in Sydney. One of the questions we discussed at some length was the answer to the following question: “Whose stroke is it?” This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about in recent years. The processes of documenting stroke in health facilities clearly identifies the stroke as “belonging” to the facility, and yet, the actual stroke leaves the facility inside the head of the survivor. In fact, the long-term impact of stroke eventually falls almost entirely to the survivors and their families and carers. They are the people who carry the burden, who grieve the loss and who live with the stroke’s consequences and complications. As I say, “Whose stroke is it?”

I’ve selected this month’s journal article because these authors are reporting evidence about the impact of stroke on families and the benefits of well organised support framework for families and carers. You’ll find the article’s abstract and “Humble Opinion” in its usual place under this topic on the 2017 Journal Club page. This article is freely available at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/scs.12344/full

Behavioural Domains

April 2017: Ramsey et al (2017) Behavioural clusters and predictors of performance during recovery from stroke. Nature Human Behaviour, Early Online, DOI: 10.1038/s41562-016-0038

Although this may be a difficult “read”, its this month’s journal article because it challenges the way we think about stroke recovery and particular impairments or areas of dysfunction. To date, our understanding of the impact of stroke is usually in terms of differentiating between impairments. Different therapists see patients with different impairments based on their professional expertise . For example, speech pathologists manage patients with language impairments. However, what Ramsey et al found challenges this approach. In relation to recovery in the first 12 months after first-ever stroke, they have found a clustering of impairments and two behavioural domains: 1) motor and attention; and 2) language and memory. This means we may need to re-think our differentiation and management of impairments after stroke.

This article is freely available and is well worth reading. To find the abstract and “humble opinion”, go to Journal Club 2017 and select: Behavioural Domains.

Cognition after Stroke

May 2016: Munch et al (2016) Stroke location is an independent predictor of cognitive outcome (MoCA) at 3 months post stroke. Stroke, 47(1), 66-73 DOI: 10:1161/STROKEAHA.115.011242 available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26585396

I’m thinking about focusing on a particular outcome of stroke for two, if not three months in a row. That way, Journal Club could dig deeper into some issues for the rest of 2016. Let me know what you think!

If feasible, in Month 1, I’ll try to review recent evidence about pathophysiology; Month 2, evidence about assessment and Month 3, evidence about recovery and/or an effective intervention. For me, cognition after stroke keeps cropping up, so I’ve decided to start with this outcome. The May 2016 journal article reports on an investigation into the regions of the brain that, if lesioned by stroke, are most likely to result in cognitive dysfunction after stroke. The measure the researchers use is the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) and that’s good, because I know that in Month 2, I’ll review an article reporting the MoCA’s clinical applicability in survivors of stroke.

You’ll find the abstract and “humble opinion” under Journal Club 2016. To view this article you’ll need access to the Stroke journal or you can email the corresponding author.