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The NIHR Dissemination Centre launched the 'Roads to Recovery: Organisation and Quality of Stroke Services' themed review in Manchester on 4 April.

Roads to Recovery brings together recent evidence relevant to those planning and delivering stroke services, those delivering treatments to people with stroke and to those living with stroke. 

Together with other evidence, this review may be particularly useful for those developing stroke pathways and care across a system. This is not a comprehensive review of all evidence on stroke care; it focuses on studies funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The NIHR was set up in 2006 as the research arm of the NHS to provide a health research system focused on the needs of patients and the public. Over the last ten years, it has funded a number of programmes, projects, research centres, workstreams and researchers working in stroke prevention, management and care. These different studies have not been brought together in this way before. This review celebrates the range of recent studies on stroke care funded by NIHR in the last ten years. During this time we have seen a great increase in the volume of stroke studies and the numbers of patients, staff and organisations participating in stroke research. This has strengthened the base of what we know about how best to organise care. Read the review.

SPCR studies featured in the review include:

Ongoing impairments following transient ischaemic attack: retrospective cohort study. Grace Turner

This study used the Health Improvement Network database, which covers approximately 6% of the UK population to examine life after a transient ischaemic attack (TIA). A total of 9419 TIA patients and 46 511 controls were included, who were matched for age, sex and general practice. Results showed that compared with controls, TIA patients had an increased risk of 43% for consulting for fatigue, 26% for psychological impairment and 45% for cognitive impairment. . For example, 25% of TIA patients consulted for psychological impairment within 7.1 months, compared with NIHR Themed Review: Roads to Recovery 57 23.5 months for controls. The authors argued that TIA is associated with subsequent GP consultation for three major impairments. This has implications for long-term care and treatment. page 56.

Identifying the long-term needs of stroke survivors using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health. Kethakie Sumathipala 

This study explored the long-term impact of stroke through a series of interviews with 35 stroke survivors between 1 and 11 years after stroke. The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health framework (ICF) was used to contextualise the needs. Long-term needs included activities of daily living, housing, mobility, social participation, financial support, information, rehabilitation and transport. A key facilitator for functioning was social support. Patients often experience health problems not related to stroke as well. The authors concluded that in order to meet long-term needs a range of personal, contextual and environmental factors should be taken into consideration. page 55.

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