A cluster randomised controlled trial of a structured training programme for caregivers of in-patients after stroke (TRACS)

Objectives and brief methodology

The aim of the TRACS trial is to evaluate the clinical and cost effectiveness of a structured competency based caregiver-training programme for caregivers of stroke patients returning home with stroke-related disabilities.

The primary patient objective of the trial is to determine whether the training programme improves physical outcomes for patients after disabling stroke. The primary caregiver objective of the trial is to determine whether the training programme reduces the burden for caregivers of patients after disabling stroke.

TRACS has been designed as a pragmatic, multicentre, cluster randomised controlled trial with blinded follow-up. The unit of randomisation were the participating stroke rehabilitation units. 18 stroke units were randomised to deliver the intervention which includes a number of carer training sessions, competency assessment and one follow-up visit; and 18 stroke units were randomised to continue to deliver usual care as per the National Guidelines for Stroke.

Recruitment completed at the end of January 2010 with a total of 930 patients and carers recruited.

Research Outputs

Forster A, Dickerson J, Young J, Patel A, Kalra L, Nixon J, Smithard D, Knapp M, Holloway I, Anwar S, Farrin A. A cluster randomised controlled trial and cost-effectiveness analysis of a structured training programme for caregivers of in-patients after stroke (TRACS). Health Technology Assessment 2013; 17(46).

Forster A, Dickerson J, Young J, Patel A, Kalra L, Nixon J, Smithard D, Knapp M, Holloway I, Anwar S, Farrin A. A structured training programme for caregivers of inpatients after stroke (TRACS): a cluster randomised controlled trial and cost-effectiveness analysis. The Lancet 2013.

Forster A, Young J, Nixon J, Kalra L, Smithard D, Patel A, Knapp M, Monaghan J, Breen R, Anwar S. Farrin A. A cluster randomized controlled trial of a structured training programme for caregivers of inpatients after stroke (TRACS). International Journal of Stroke 2012,7:94-99.

Funding agency

Medical Research Council

Further information

For further information contact Anne Forster