Cluster randomized controlled trial: clinical and cost-effectiveness of a system of longer-term stroke care

Anne Forster, John Young, Katie Chapman, Jane Nixon, Anita Patel, Ivana Holloway, Kirste Mellish, Shamaila Anwar, Rachel Breen, Martin Knapp, Jenni Murray, Amanda Farrin (2015)

Please note: this is a legacy publication from CPEC (formely PSSRU at LSE).

Stroke 46 8 2212-2219

Available online: 7 July 2015


Background and Purpose—We developed a new postdischarge system of care comprising a structured assessment covering longer-term problems experienced by patients with stroke and their carers, linked to evidence-based treatment algorithms and reference guides (the longer-term stroke care system of care) to address the poor longer-term recovery experienced by many patients with stroke.

Methods—A pragmatic, multicentre, cluster randomized controlled trial of this system of care. Eligible patients referred to community-based Stroke Care Coordinators were randomized to receive the new system of care or usual practice. The primary outcome was improved patient psychological well-being (General Health Questionnaire-12) at 6 months; secondary outcomes included functional outcomes for patients, carer outcomes, and cost-effectiveness. Follow-up was through self-completed postal questionnaires at 6 and 12 months.

Results—Thirty-two stroke services were randomized (29 participated); 800 patients (399 control; 401 intervention) and 208 carers (100 control; 108 intervention) were recruited. In intention to treat analysis, the adjusted difference in patient General Health Questionnaire-12 mean scores at 6 months was ?0.6 points (95% confidence interval, ?1.8 to 0.7; P=0.394) indicating no evidence of statistically significant difference between the groups. Costs of Stroke Care Coordinator inputs, total health and social care costs, and quality-adjusted life year gains at 6 months, 12 months, and over the year were similar between the groups.

Conclusions—This robust trial demonstrated no benefit in clinical or cost-effectiveness outcomes associated with the new system of care compared with usual Stroke Care Coordinator practice.