Health researchers from universities, hospitals, and medical research institutes around Australia have evaluated the effectiveness of an online intervention whose purpose is to improve the health-related quality of life of stroke survivors. The instrument, entitled Prevent 2nd Stroke (P2S), is a behavior-change intervention designed to promote medically advisable health-related behaviors among stroke survivors. The goal of the research was to determine whether self-reported health-related quality of life outcomes were significantly better after six months of participation in the intervention group than among a comparable, randomized control group.
Participants (399) were recruited via mail outreach to Australian stroke survivors listed in 1 national and 1 regional stroke registry. Recruits were between 6 and 36 months post-stroke, and willing and able to use the on-line P2S intervention. At baseline and 6-month follow-up, they participated in a computer-assisted telephone interview for assessment using the EuroQOL Visual Analogue Scale (EQ-VAS). Randomization to either treatment or control group occurred upon baseline assessment completion, and both assessment administration assistants and statisticians were blinded to participant group membership. Over the six months of study, investigators periodically sent text messages to intervention participants asking about personal progress towards self-selected goals across six health-related behaviors (exercise, smoking, etc.). Control group participants periodically received messages with links to websites containing generic health information. Outcomes were assessed for differences between the 2 groups at follow-up, adjusting for baseline measures. Secondary outcome analyses addressed topics of personal care, diet quality, physical activity, alcohol consumption, smoking status, mood, physical functioning, and daily activities for independent living.
Data analysis shows that, at 6 months, the primary health-related quality-of-life score was higher in the treatment group (85) than in the control group (80), a statistically significant difference (p = 0.02). In two of the eight secondary outcomes measures – namely, personal care and daily activities – the treatment group similarly scored significantly higher than the control group. As a limitation of the study, the authors note that participant sample comprised mostly ‘well’, high-functioning individuals. The authors conclude that – for a subset of stroke survivors – on-line platforms can serve as an effective tool for beneficial health-related engagement and support.
For further reading: A. Guillaumier, N. Spratt, M. Pollack et al., 2022,
Evaluation of an online intervention for improving stroke survivors’ health-related quality of life: A randomized controlled trial. PLoS Med, 19(4): 17pp. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003966