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Starting early: integration of self-management support into an acute stroke service
  1. Petra Mäkelä,
  2. Sara Gawned,
  3. Fiona Jones
  1. St George's Healthcare NHS Trust, and Kingston University and St George's University of London
  1. Correspondence to
    Petra Mäkelä petra.makela{at}


Self-management support following stroke is rare, despite emerging evidence for impact on patient outcomes. The promotion of a common approach to self-management support across a stroke pathway requires collaboration between professionals. To date, the feasibility of self-management support in acute stroke settings has not been evaluated.

The Bridges stroke self-management package (SMP) is based on self-efficacy principles. It is delivered by professionals and supported by a patient-held workbook. The aim of this project was to introduce the Bridges stroke SMP to the multidisciplinary staff of a London hyperacute and acute stroke unit.

The ‘Plan Do Study Act’ (PDSA) cycle guided iterative stages of project development, with normalisation process theory helping to embed the intervention into existing ways of working. Questionnaires explored attitudes, beliefs and experiences of the staff who were integrating self-management support into ways of working in the acute stroke setting.

Self-management support training was delivered to a total of 46 multidisciplinary stroke staff. Of the staff who attended the follow-up training, 66% had implemented Bridges self-management support with patients since initial training, and 100% felt their practice had changed. Questionnaire findings demonstrated that staff attitudes and beliefs had changed following training, particularly regarding ownership and type of rehabilitation goals set, and prioritisation of self-management support within acute stroke care.

Staff initiated an audit of washing and dressing practices pre- and post-training. This was designed to evaluate the number of occasions when techniques were used by staff to facilitate patients’ independence and self-management. They found that the number of occasions featuring optimum practice went from 54% at baseline to 63% at three months post-training.

This project demonstrated the feasibility of integrating self-management support into an acute stroke setting. Further work is required to evaluate sustainability of the Bridges stroke SMP, to understand the barriers and opportunities involved in engaging all professional groups in integrated self-management support in acute stroke settings, and to assess patient reported outcomes.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See:

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