Home Health & Wellness New Tool Will Help Manage Fatigue Following Stroke

New Tool Will Help Manage Fatigue Following Stroke

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Experts at the Universities of Birmingham and Cambridge are creating a self-management programme to assist people in coping with fatigue following a stroke.

Experiencing a lack of energy and tiredness after a stroke is very common and can be one of the most difficult and upsetting problems that people have to manage. Improving management of post-stroke fatigue has been identified as a high priority by NHS England. 

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and the Stroke Association have awarded the research programme £2 million. It builds on an existing intervention developed at the University of Bournemouth to help patients with multiple sclerosis, called FACETS. This includes elements of cognitive behavioural therapy, education, and energy effectiveness techniques. 

The Birmingham team will work together with people affected by stroke, carers, clinicians, and other experts to adapt FACETS for the stroke community and web-based delivery. Importantly, the team will include people who are often underrepresented in research (for example, people with stroke-related impairments and ethnic minority groups). 

“We don’t know the best way to manage fatigue after stroke, and many people don’t receive any information or support,” explained lead investigator, Dr Grace Turner. “With around 50% of people who have had a stroke experiencing fatigue, this is clearly an important area to tackle.  

“Fatigue self-management programmes have been shown to be effective in managing fatigue in other conditions and we hope it could be a solution for post-stroke fatigue that can be implemented within current NHS care pathways.” 

The team will partner with Cognitant, a healthcare technology company that specialises in the co-production of patient education programmes and digital support packages.  

Dr Tim Ringrose, CEO and Founder of Cognitant, said: “We are delighted to be collaborating with the Universities of Birmingham, Cambridge, and Bournemouth on this crucial initiative. This project aims to make a tangible difference in the lives of stroke survivors, providing them with the tools and support they need to self-manage their fatigue. Through collaboration with patients and carers, we are looking forward to creating a comprehensive self-management programme that will represent a significant step forward in post-stroke care.” 

Over the next five years, the investigators will work with people who have had a stroke to understand their experiences with fatigue management, and co-design a fatigue management programme. This will lead to a large trial to test the interventions among more than 600 people who have experienced post-stroke fatigue.  

The goal is to empower stroke survivors to better manage their fatigue, enabling them to engage in activities that bring joy, value, and meaning to their lives. 

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