Exploring the health, service and social needs of minor stroke patients.
Emma Finch, Michele Foster, Jennifer Fleming, Tegan Cruwys, Yan Liu, Ian Williams, Jonathan Corcoran, Darshan Shah, Phil Aitken, Linda Worrall
Background: Medical advances and clinical guidelines on rehabilitation have reduced the impact of disability from severe stroke. Yet, less is known about the needs of people who suffer a minor stroke.
Aim: The overarching aim of this project was to map and understand the health, service and social needs of the minor stroke population. Part 1 aimed to explore the unmet health, service and social needs of patients recently discharged from hospital following a minor stroke, while Part 2 aimed to determine whether primary care services are geographically accessible for recently discharged stroke patients.
Methods: Part 1 used a mixed methods exploratory cohort design to explore the unmet needs of 19 minor stroke patients recently discharged from hospital. Participants completed customised questionnaires and an interview 2 weeks and 2 months post-discharge. Part 2 used a Geographic Information System to map the discharge location of stroke patients (N = 1,595, January 2011 – January 2017) and the spatial distribution of primary care services across a single healthcare region.
Results: Unmet needs varied between participants and reflected their individual situations, health needs and social roles/activities. Unmet needs also varied between the 2 time points. Part 2 revealed that access to primary health services was variable, both across the region and between services.
Conclusion: Minor stroke patients may indeed have health, service and social needs that are currently unmet by existing services. The next step of this program of research will be to conduct a larger scale study.