How can we improve rehabilitation?

We currently are investigating a number of different research projects in the DREX team. In this blog post I’ll talk about one that is very close to my heart…My project! The project I am currently working on is an examination of factors influencing the success of rehabilitation. Or more affectionately known by the team as the DREX Personal Rehabilitation Project.


(Reproduced from

Rehabilitation after stroke and brain injury is a long and arduous process. We have been graciously funded by the Dunhill Medical Trust to look into the barriers and facilitators experienced by stroke and brain injury survivors, to see whether we can make a difference generally to rehabilitation after stroke and brain injury. We are also looking at how we can make the DREX training more accessible and easier to use for those with visual problems following brain injury and stroke.

This project is still in its infancy but we have already learnt so much. We initially conducted a number of focus groups with stroke and brain injury survivors all over the U.K. These were within charities, stroke groups and within NHS trusts. The focus groups were designed to give us a greater understanding of the barriers and the positives experienced after stroke and brain injury and what could be done to assist with making rehabilitation easier.

Some of the findings from these groups were very interesting and eye-opening. Individuals from these groups highlighted a “lack of stability” in who was providing support for them throughout their rehabilitation. They also found that “everything is blamed on the stroke even when it’s unrelated”. However, the groups identified that “support from charities and my family has been vital”. The main finding that we took away from these groups is that at present there seems to be a real lottery element to the rehabilitation individuals receive after stroke or brain injury. Some individuals experienced no problems throughout their rehabilitation and felt that they received constant and adequate support. However, the larger majority of people felt there was a great deal of instability throughout their rehabilitation and they felt very much on their own. The disparity between experiences was quite startling.

After discussing the findings of these focus groups with the team we decided the next step would be to see if the feelings of those canvassed during the focus groups generalised across other stroke and brain injury survivors. The best way we could think to do this was to create and distribute a survey tapping into some of the key points raised. The survey also asks a number of different questions aimed at learning more about the individuals personal rehabilitation experience. We have circulated the survey far and wide by post and online and have received over 100 replies so far. We have just this week taken a first look at the data so we only have preliminary results for this. However, it would appear that so far, the survey findings match those found within the focus groups.

The survey is still currently open so should you know of anyone who has survived a stroke or brain injury and who would be willing to take part then please point them in the direction of the following weblink Clicking on this link will take you to our survey which should only take 10 minutes to complete. If you’d prefer a paper version then please get in touch with us and we can post one out to you.

Survey Pic

So what does the future hold for this project? The next stage will be trying to put the findings of the survey and focus groups into practice. It is one thing to listen to and gather this information but another to use it. So from this information we hope to be able to take this to NHS England in order to change how stroke and brain injury survivors are treated throughout their rehabilitation. We also hope to conduct a number of workshops over the coming months with survivors and healthcare professionals to further our understanding of the problems.

For further information about this project or to talk to us about anything then check out our contact details via our Contact Us page or select from one of the options below.

Contact Paint

Thanks for reading and we will see you soon!


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