RCSI Launches Research Programme to Improve Stroke Care
A research programme led by RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences that aims to improve the delivery of stroke care for patients was launched recently.
Led by Professor Frances Horgan and Professor David Williams, iPASTAR (improving Pathways for Acute STroke And Rehabilitation) is a collaborative doctoral training award funded by the Health Research Board of Ireland, Collaborative Doctoral Awards Programme 2019 and hosted by RCSI and UCD.
Annually, 15 million people worldwide suffer a stroke. It is a major cause of death and the commonest form of acquired physical disability in adults. One in five people will have a stroke at some time in their life. Most are over 65, but stroke can strike at any age.
The burden of stroke disproportionately affects individuals in low- to middle-income countries where prevalence of risk factors continues to rise, and where there are significant barriers to access to effective prevention and acute treatments.
The iPASTAR programme is built on feedback from stroke survivors who explained the challenges they, and their families, face following stroke. These patients identified a need for more support and information at transitions of care after discharge from hospital and early supported discharge; the need for signposting to resources and services; and highlighted the hidden costs that they face in managing life after stroke.
Professor David Williams, Professor of Stroke Medicine at RCSI School of Medicine and Beaumont Hospital, said, “this interdisciplinary programme will generate a cohort of post-doctoral researchers with transferrable skills who can make significant future impact across a range of settings with the necessary expertise to generate research evidence which will support cost-effective patient-focused stroke care.”
Professor Frances Horgan, Associate Professor at RCSI School of Physiotherapy, said, “our iPASTAR consortium is a unique opportunity to promote collaborative leadership and to develop capacity in interdisciplinary research and service delivery focused on improving stroke recovery and rehabilitation.”
The programme was launched at a virtual symposium which featured a guest address by Professor Bo Norrving, Professor of Neurology Lund University, who presented on the Stroke Action Plan for Europe.
The symposium introduced iPASTAR and the four PhD scholars and their projects, which are focusing on delivery of stroke care for patients, from the hospital, to rehabilitation in the community, and living well after stroke.
Symposium participants heard from PPI partners, and Mary Scullion, a stroke survivor who shared her experience of life after stroke and being involved in iPASTAR.