“People keep saying I had a mild stroke, there’s nothing mild about it, it’s life changing”: perceptions of provision of information and education following stroke

Ms Dimitra Chrisikakos1, Ms.  Claire  Formby1, Ms Su Wen  Ng1, Ms Rita Sarma1, Ms  Julia Hibma1, Ms Sophie  Heywood1, Ms Melissa  Ho1

1St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia


To determine acute and sub-acute stroke patients’ perceptions of and preferences for education during their stroke journey.

Twenty four participants attending a community rehabilitation program with a diagnosis of stroke within the previous 12 months consented to participate in a semi-structured interview via telephone or face to face.  They answered questions regarding their experience of and preferences for, stroke education across their acute, sub-acute and community-based admissions.

16.7% of participants reported receiving no stroke information or education; Of those receiving education, only 50% obtained information on lifestyle changes and medications;  less than 50% were given information on stroke recovery and life after stroke.  Information was provided in three main settings, the stroke unit (45.8%) sub-acute wards (29.2%) and the community (29.2%), with some participants receiving information in more than one setting.

Major themes from results include:

  • inadequate provision of information, particularly on stroke recovery
  • feeling overwhelmed with written material
  • wanting family or carer(s) present when information provided
  • identified emotions of confusion, low mood, distress
  • information delivery via direct discussion preferred

Significance of the findings to allied health:
Providing stroke education is a key component of rehabilitation.  Nevertheless, results demonstrate not all clients perceive they have received the required information.  Variations in patients’ preference for timing and delivery of information suggest that individualised, direct discussions with clients could better meet their needs.


Dimitra is a Speech Pathologist who completed a Master of Speech Pathology at La Trobe University in 2008.

She has over 10 years of professional clinical experience, with the majority of her career working in multidisciplinary Stroke/Neurological rehabilitation in the community setting.