Knowing you're not alone: understanding peer support for stroke survivors

DORNING Holly, et al
Nuffield Trust
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An independent evaluation to assess the value and impact of Stroke Association Voluntary Groups (SAVGs) for stroke survivors and their carers. The groups provide volunteer-led, peer support and offer a range of activities such as exercise, art, music, gardening, and trips. The evaluation used a mixed methods approach, including a questionnaire of stroke survivors and carers to capture self-reported measures of health and wellbeing. It drew on the experiences and views of more than 200 stroke survivors and 100 carers from 30 local groups, as well as 20 Stroke Association staff and volunteers. Although results of the self-report questionnaire did find statistically significant changes in outcome measures for stroke survivors in relation to social isolation, mental wellbeing, or self-management during the three-month evaluation, group members did report positive benefits from attending SAVG groups. Stroke survivors reported that the groups had a positive impact on reducing social isolation, with social support given as stroke survivors’ main reasons for attending a SAVG. The groups also provided opportunities for survivors to gain confidence, regain practical skills, and also to improve their emotional wellbeing. Carers also described improvements in their mental wellbeing. The evaluation also identified challenges faced by staff and volunteers running the groups. (Edited publisher abstract)

Subject terms:
evaluation, stroke, peer support, social isolation, wellbeing, mental health, loneliness, volunteers, quality of life, carers, self care, support groups, social networks;
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United Kingdom
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