The StrokeCog-R study: a randomised pilot study of a novel cognitive rehabilitation intervention in stroke

Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in Ireland and worldwide. Many people are aware of the physical disabilities that occur following stroke, but are less aware of the cognitive problems that people experience. Cognitive problems, or cognitive impairment, include difficulties with thinking, memory, and concentration. They affect up to 60% of people after stroke. Stroke survivors and their families describe cognitive impairment as one of the most difficult stroke outcomes to deal with, and the biggest obstacle to returning to pre-stroke life.  

Rehabilitation of post-stroke cognitive impairment has received little attention compared with physical rehabilitation. Current evidence indicates that cognitive function continues to decline and – especially if the person has another stroke – develops into dementia, one of the main reasons people move to long-term, or nursing home, care (LTC). Intervening to rehabilitate cognitive impairment may halt the further decline and/or improve cognitive function, thus improving quality of life, and preventing progression to dementia and LTC.

The StrokeCog research team has developed a cognitive intervention based on an extensive review of international studies and in-depth consultation with people who have had a stroke, their family members, and healthcare professionals working with people following stroke.  We have already tested this intervention with a very small number of patients with stroke-related cognitive impairment. Working with patient representatives, this research programme seeks to further test this intervention with a larger sample of patients with stroke-related cognitive problems. We will collect information on the best way to recruit patients into the study, how many complete the intervention, and examine initial results on the benefits of the intervention.  We will collect and analyse detailed information on the costs associated with delivering this intervention. The study will provide strong evidence on whether the intervention is worthy of further investigation in a larger-scale research trial

Award Date
04 December 2020
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Professor Anne Hickey
Host Institution
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
DIFA 2020