In post-stroke recovery, it’s not uncommon to feel like that you’ve lost some of the control you once had in your life. Regaining this sense of independence, this confidence in your decisions (clinically measured as self-efficacy or outcome expectation) is one of the main goals of rehabilitation. The use of stroke self-management programs is one approach that can help stroke survivors reach this goal.
How self-management works
A relatively new approach to stroke rehabilitation, self-management programs encourage patients to become more involved in their recovery. It allows them to create and monitor their own treatment goals and targets. This approach places the power back into the hands of the patient while it helps to build the confidence to take more responsibility for their own recovery.
A team of researchers in China and Australia conducted a study on this approach. They assessed self-management in 128 patients over four weeks. Patients received a workbook to record their goals and related plans of action. They also received a DVD containing interviews with stroke survivors offering advice on how to manage stroke successfully. In addition, the researchers supported the participants with home visits (Week 1), twice-weekly community group sessions (Weeks 2 and 3), and follow-up phone calls (Week 4) to discuss their progress.
Patients report positive results
At eight weeks (one-month after completion of the program), the self-management program was found to have had a positive effect on study participants. Patients reported improvements across a number of scales related to measures of self-efficacy and self-management. As a result, they felt more independent and more confident of their role in their recovery. In short, they felt more in control.
So why not talk to your therapist about stroke self-management. It could give you the confidence to take control of your life again.
The lead author of this study is Suzanne H.S. Lo, Nethersole School of Nursing, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.