RATIONALE: Stroke is the leading cause of death and disability in rural China. For stroke patients residing in resource-limited rural areas, secondary prevention and rehabilitation are largely unavailable, and where present, are far below evidence-based standards. AIM: This study aims to develop and implement a simplified stroke rehabilitation program that utilizes nurses and family caregivers for service delivery, and evaluate its feasibility and effectiveness in rural China. METHODS AND DESIGN: This 2-year randomized controlled trial is being conducted in 2-3 county hospitals located in northwest, northeast, and southwest China. Eligible and consenting stroke inpatients (200 in total) have been recruited and randomized into either a control or intervention group. Nurses in the county hospital are trained by rehabilitation specialists and in turn train the family caregivers in the intervention group. They also provide telephone follow-up care three times post discharge. The recruitment, baseline, intervention, follow-up care, and evaluation are guided by the RECOVER mobile phone app specifically designed for this study. STUDY OUTCOME: The primary outcome is patients' Barthel Index (activities of daily living: mobility, self-care, and toileting) at 6 months. Process and economic evaluation will also be conducted. DISCUSSION: The results of our study will generate initial high-quality evidence to improve stroke care in resource-scarce settings. If proven effective, this innovative care delivery model has the potential to improve the health and function of stroke patients, relieve caregiver burden, guide policy-making, and advance translational research in the field of stroke care.

Original publication

DOI

10.1177/1747493016654290

Type

Journal

Int J Stroke

Publication Date

10/2016

Volume

11

Pages

823 - 830

Keywords

Barthel Index, Stroke, family caregivers, nurses, rehabilitation, rural China