Long-term unmet needs after stroke: systematic review of evidence from survey studies

Ting Chen, Bo Zhang, Yan Deng, Jing-Chun Fan, Liansheng Zhang, Fujian Song

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OBJECTIVES: To synthesise evidence on longer term unmet needs perceived by stroke survivors, and psychometric properties of the tools used to evaluate unmet care needs after stroke.

DESIGN: Systematic review.

SETTING: Community or patients' home.

PARTICIPANTS: Stroke survivors.

METHODS: We searched PubMed, PsycINFO, CINAHL, EMBASE from inception to 31 March 2018 to identify survey studies that evaluated unmet needs perceived by stroke survivors after hospital discharge. Reported unmet needs were categorised under three domains: body functioning, activity/participation and environmental factors. Ranges of prevalence rates of unmet needs reported in studies were presented.

RESULTS: We included 19 eligible studies, with considerable heterogeneity in patients, survey methods and results. Psychometric properties of two stroke-specific tools were formally evaluated, indicating their moderate reliability and content/concurrent validity. The median number of reported unmet needs per stroke survivor was from two to five, and the proportion of stroke survivors with at least one unmet needs was on average 73.8% (range 19.8%- 91.7%). Unmet needs perceived by stroke survivors included 55 records of unmet body functioning needs, 47 records of unmet activities/participatory needs and 101 records of unmet environmental needs. Common unmet service needs were unmet information needs (3.1%- 65.0%), transport (5.4%-53.0%), home help/personal care (4.7%-39.3%) and therapy (2.0%-35.7%).

CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of unmet long-term needs is high among stroke survivors, and there is considerable heterogeneity in type and frequency of specific unmet needs. More research is required to link regular assessment of long-term unmet needs of stroke survivors with the provision of cost-effective patient-centred health and social care services.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere028137
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2019

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