Supported self-management in community stroke rehabilitation: what is it and how does it work? A protocol for a realist evaluation study

Lisa Kidd*, Julie Duncan Millar, Helen Mason, Terry Quinn, Katie Gallacher, Fiona Jones, Rebecca J. Fisher, Therese Lebedis, Mark Barber, Katrina Brennan, Mark Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
28 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: A growing evidence base demonstrates the effectiveness of supported self-management in stroke for stroke survivors and their families. However, there is significant variation in its implementation in community stroke care and little understanding about how supported self-management works and is delivered across different settings, models used and contexts of community stroke rehabilitation.

Methods and analysis: Using a mixed method, realist approach across two phases, this protocol describes a study on community-based supported self-management. The aim is to identify the mechanisms and outcomes of supported self-management in stroke and to understand how supported self-management is implemented in different contexts of community stroke rehabilitation. Phase 1 involves (1) a realist synthesis, (2) a scoping and mapping of current community rehabilitation settings and (3) a Q-methodology study to develop initial programme theories about how community-based supported self-management works, for whom and in what contexts. Phase 2 involves realist informed interviews/focus groups with stroke survivors, community rehabilitation practitioners and team managers from across Scotland to test and refine programme theories and an explanatory model for how supported self-management works across different contexts of community-based stroke rehabilitation.

Ethics and dissemination: Ethical approval and R&D approvals have been granted from East of Scotland Research Ethics Committee (REC reference number: 19/ES/0055) and participating NHS boards. An understanding of how, for whom and in what contexts community-based supported self-management works will help to strengthen its delivery in practice. Such an understanding will enable the design of context-specific recommendations for policy and practice that genuinely reflect the challenges in implementing supported self-management in community stroke care. Results will be disseminated to clinical partners working in community stroke rehabilitation, stroke survivors and families and to policymakers and third sector partners involved in the provision of long-term support for people affected by stroke.

PROSPERO registration number CRD42020166208.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere055491
Number of pages10
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2022


  • supported self-management
  • community stroke rehabilitation
  • realist evaluation study
  • organisation of health services
  • rehabilitation medicine
  • stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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