Early rehabilitation management after stroke: What do stroke patients prefer?
Lester, Laurence Howard
Walker, Ruth Ballance
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Background: Stroke rehabilitation is moving towards more intense therapy models that incorporate technologies such as robotics and computer games. It is unclear how acceptable these changes will be to stroke survivors, as little is known about which aspects of rehabilitation programmes are currently valued. Discrete choice experiments are a potential approach to assessing patient preferences, as they reveal the characteristics of programmes that are most important to consumers. METHODS: A discrete choice experiment was presented as a face-to-face interview to assess the priorities and preferences of stroke survivors (n = 50, mean age 72 years) for alternative rehabilitation service configurations. The discrete choice experiment was presented to the participants while they were on the stroke rehabilitation ward (approximately 3–4 weeks following stroke). RESULTS: Participants were highly focused on recovery and expressed strong preferences for therapy delivered one-to-one, but they did not favour very high intensity programmes (6 hours per day). While the attitudinal statements indicated high levels of agreement for programmes to incorporate the latest technology, the results from the discrete choice experiment indicated that participants were averse to computer-delivered therapy. CONCLUSION: Whilst rehabilitation therapy is highly valued, stroke survivors exhibited stronger preferences for low-intensity programmes and rest periods. High-intensity therapy protocols or approaches dependent on new technologies will require careful introduction to achieve uptake and acceptability.