A team from the Centre for Health Services Studies (CHSS), University of Kent, and East Kent Hospitals Trust is to undertake a study on the information needs of stroke survivors and their families in Kent.

Funded by East Kent Hospitals donated funds, the study will build on a developing programme of research by interviewing a range of health professionals, including those who work specifically with stroke survivors (eg in hospital stroke units) and those whose work is more general (eg GPs) to determine how they currently identify and meet the information needs of stroke survivors and their families. The team will also carry out a number of interviews with stroke survivors and their carers to find out what information they had been given, if it was easily understood and whether they had found it useful or if it could have been done differently.

Andy Alaszewski, Professor of Health Studies and Director of CHSS said, 'A substantial amount of information is already available for stroke survivors and their families. For example the team has identified a variety of information sources such as internet sites, booklets by organisations such as the Stroke Association and local packs and resources. However, existing studies of information provision and communication indicate that stroke survivors and their families find it difficult to access and use relevant information. Not only can this increase uncertainty and anxiety but it can also affect the safety of stroke survivors and others if they are unaware of important information about ways of reducing the risk of a further stroke, or when they can start driving again.'

By conducting this study, the team will identify what works for stroke survivors and their carers, and supply advice and guidance to professionals and service providers in East Kent and beyond on the most effective ways of imparting information and communicating with stroke survivors and their families.

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The University of Kent was granted its Royal Charter in 1965. Today there are almost 10,000 full-time and part-time students with over 110 nationalities represented.

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