Virtual Multidisciplinary Stroke Care Clinic for Community-Dwelling Stroke Survivors: A Randomized Controlled Trial
BACKGROUND: Stroke survivors constantly feel helpless and unprepared after discharge from hospitals. More flexible and pragmatic support are needed for their optimized recovery. We examined the effects of a virtual multidisciplinary stroke care clinic on survivors’ health and self-management outcomes.
METHODS: A randomized controlled trial was conducted. Survivors were recruited from 10 hospitals and randomized at 1:1 ratio into the intervention or the control groups. Intervention group participants received the Virtual Multidisciplinary Stroke Care Clinic service (monthly online consultations with a nurse, follow-up phone calls, and access to an online platform). Control group participants received the usual care. Outcomes of self-efficacy (stroke self-efficacy questionnaire; primary), self-management behaviors (Stroke Self-Management Behaviors Performance Scale), social participation (reintegration to normal living index), and depression (Geriatric Depression Scale; secondary) were measured at baseline, and 3 and 6 months after commencing the intervention (post-randomization). A generalized estimating equations model was used to compare the differential changes in outcomes at 3 and 6 months with respect to baseline between 2 groups.
RESULTS: Between July 2019 and June 2022, 335 eligible participants were enrolled in the study. Participants (intervention group; n=166) showed significantly greater improvements in outcomes of self-efficacy (group-by-time interaction regression coefficient, B=4.60 [95% CI, 0.16 to 9.05]), social participation (B=5.07 [95% CI, 0.61 to 9.53]), and depression (B=−2.33 [95% CI, −4.06 to −0.61]), and no significant improvement in performance of self-management behaviors (B=3.45, [95% CI, −0.87 to 7.77]), compared with the control group (n=169) right after the intervention (6 months after its commencement). Hedges’ g effect sizes of the intervention on outcomes: 0.19 to 0.36.
CONCLUSIONS: The results provide some positive evidence on the usefulness of the Virtual Multidisciplinary Stroke Care Clinic service. The effect sizes are regarded as small to medium, which may not be of clinical relevance. The baseline levels in outcomes were in favor of the control group, the intervention effects might be overestimated. The service must be tested further to determine its effectiveness.
Health and medical research fund, Food and Health Bureau, the Government of the Hong Kong SAR (Ref No:15162991)