ARRRESTing study to research ways of reducing recurring strokes
A postgraduate student in the School of Health Science at Swansea University has been awarded a £48,000 studentship grant by the Welsh Assembly Government to research ways of reducing recurring strokes.
PhD student Christine Stock (pictured) will use the Welsh Service Research Studentship to undertake a study entitled 'Action Research to Reduce REpetition of STroke' – or ARRREST – which aims to work in partnership with stroke survivors and their carers to prevent further occurrences.
Studentship winner Christine said: "I am delighted to receive funding for this project. The risk of further strokes can be reduced by living a healthier lifestyle, for example, by stopping smoking and lowering salt intake, and the ARRREST study will have three strands.
"The project's results will be of direct relevance for patients and to the health sector to stop recurring strokes."
Deputy Health Minister Gwenda Thomas said: "I am delighted that Christine will undertake this project. Strokes can be seriously debilitating and Christine’s research will help patients and the health sector understand how to help prevent their recurrence.
"The Government is committed to improving stroke services in Wales. That’s why yesterday we announced further support for long-term conditions such as stroke, with £2.5 million being made available from 2008-09. This will ensure that by March 2009, all stroke patients will be admitted to dedicated beds staffed by a specialist team."
Professor Melanie Jasper, Head of Health Science at Swansea University, added: "The School of Health Science is characterised as much by its research as by its teaching in nursing, midwifery and other health care professions, encouraging the open exchange of ideas within an environment that promotes research of the highest quality and integrity.
"I am delighted that we are seeing more exciting new projects being funded, like this ARREST study, which adds to the schools research calibre."
Strokes are the largest cause of disablement in the UK, and they can leave patients unable to walk, speak, or even swallow.
Once someone has suffered a stroke, they are more likely to have another one, and stopping recurring strokes is key to preventing the most disabling strokes.
The first step will be a questionnaire to stroke survivors and their carers to establish what they know about preventing further strokes. This will be followed by a series of focus groups with stroke survivors and carers to understand their experiences of trying to prevent further strokes.
At the same time face-to-face interviews will take place with health professionals and others who work directly with stroke survivors, for example in the voluntary sector, to determine how they currently work with clients to help prevent stroke.
Christine's work will be supervised by Dr Susan Lambert and Professor Joy Merrell of Swansea University's School of Health Science.
The Stroke Research Network in Wales, a multidisciplinary group of doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, and sociologists is co-ordinated by Christine. If anyone is interested in developing stroke research in Wales, she can be contacted on 01792 513269, or by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on stroke prevention can be found on the Stroke Association website, or by calling their telephone helpline on 0845 3033100.