Research shows that stroke patients and their families are dissatisfied with the information provided and have a poor understanding of stroke and associated issues.
To assess the effectiveness of information provision strategies in improving the outcome for stroke patients and/or their identified caregivers.
Seventeen trials involving 1773 patient and 1058 carer participants were included. Eight evaluated a passive and nine an active information intervention. Meta-analyses showed a significant effect in favour of the intervention on patient and carer knowledge, one aspect of patient satisfaction, and patient depression scores. There was no significant effect on number of cases of anxiety or depression in patients, carer mood or satisfaction, or death. Qualitative analyses found no strong evidence of an effect on other outcomes. Posthoc subgroup analyses showed that active information had a significantly greater effect than passive information on patient mood but not on other outcomes.
There is evidence that information improves patient and carer knowledge of stroke, aspects of patient satisfaction, and reduces patient depression scores. However, the reduction in depression scores was small and probably clinically insignificant. Although the best way to provide information is still unclear there is some evidence that strategies that actively involve patients and carers and include planned follow up for clarification and reinforcement have a greater effect on patient mood.