Multidisciplinary transmural rehabilitation for older persons with a stroke: the design of a randomised controlled trial
BACKGROUND Stroke is one of the major causes of loss of independence, decreased quality of life and mortality among elderly people. About half of the elderly stroke patients discharged after rehabilitation in a nursing home still experience serious impairments in daily functioning one year post stroke, which can lead to difficulties in picking up and managing their social life. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness and feasibility of a new multidisciplinary transmural rehabilitation programme for older stroke patients. METHODS A two group multicentre randomised controlled trial is used to evaluate the effects of the rehabilitation programme. The programme consists of three care modules: 1) neurorehabilitation treatment for elderly stroke patients; 2) empowerment training for patient and informal caregiver; and 3) stroke education for patient and informal caregiver. The total programme has a duration of between two and six months, depending on the individual problems of the patient and informal caregiver. The control group receives usual care in the nursing home and after discharge. Patients aged 65 years and over are eligible for study participation when they are admitted to a geriatric rehabilitation unit in a nursing home due to a recent stroke and are expected to be able to return to their original home environment after discharge. Data are gathered by face-to-face interviews, self-administered questionnaires, focus groups and registration forms. Primary outcomes for patients are activity level after stroke, functional dependence, perceived quality of life and social participation. Outcomes for informal caregivers are perceived care burden, objective care burden, quality of life and perceived health. Outcome measures of the process evaluation are implementation fidelity, programme deliverance and the opinion of the stroke professionals, patients and informal caregivers about the programme. Outcome measures of the economic evaluation are the healthcare utilisation and associated costs. Data are collected at baseline, and after six and 12 months. The first results of the study will be expected in 2014. TRIAL REGISTRATION International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Register Number ISRCTN62286281, The Dutch Trial Register NTR2412.