Feasibility of an integrated multidisciplinary geriatric rehabilitation programme for older stroke patients: a process evaluation

Tom P.M.M. Vluggen*, Jolanda C.M. van Haastregt, Jeanine A. Verbunt, Caroline M. van Heugten, Jos M.G.A. Schols

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Almost half of the stroke patients admitted to geriatric rehabilitation has persisting problems after discharge. Currently, there is no evidence based geriatric rehabilitation programme available for older stroke patients, combining inpatient rehabilitation with adequate aftercare aimed at reducing the impact of persisting problems after discharge from a geriatric rehabilitation unit. Therefore, we developed an integrated multidisciplinary rehabilitation programme consisting of inpatient neurorehabilitation treatment using goal attainment scaling, home based self-management training, and group based stroke education for patients and informal caregivers. We performed a process evaluation to assess to what extent this programme was performed according to protocol. Furthermore, we assessed the participation of the patients in the programme, and the opinion of patients, informal caregivers and care professionals on the programme.

METHODS: In this multimethod study, process data were collected by means of interviews, questionnaires, and registration forms among 97 older stroke patients, 89 informal caregivers, and 103 care professionals involved in the programme.

RESULTS: A part of patients and informal caregivers did not receive all key elements of the programme. Almost all patients formulated rehabilitation goals, but among two thirds of the patients the goal attainment scaling method was used. Furthermore, the self-management training was considered rather complex and difficult to apply for frail elderly persons with stroke, and the percentage of therapy sessions performed in the patients' home environment was lower than planned. In addition, about a quarter of the patients and informal caregivers attended the education sessions. However, a majority of patients, informal caregivers and care professionals indicated the beneficial aspects of the programme.

CONCLUSION: This study revealed that although the programme in general is perceived to be beneficial by patients, and informal and formal caregivers, the feasibility of the programme needs further attention. Because of persisting cognitive deficits and specific care needs in our frail and multimorbid target population, some widely used methods such as goal attainment scaling, and self-management training seemed not feasible in their current form. To optimize feasibility of the programme, it is recommended to tailor these elements more optimally to the population of frail older patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number219
Number of pages13
JournalBMC Neurology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2020


  • Stroke
  • Geriatric rehabilitation
  • Elderly persons
  • Process evaluation
  • CARE


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