Educational needs of patients with a stroke and their caregivers: a systematic review of the literature

Patient Educ Couns. 2011 Oct;85(1):14-25. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2010.07.046. Epub 2010 Sep 23.


Objective: To systematically review the research on stroke patients' and caregivers' educational needs.

Methods: A search of the literature prior to and including the year January 2009 was conducted using Medline, CINAHL, EMBASE, PsychINFO and the Cochrane Library, yielding 959 articles. Of these, 21 studies were included in the review.

Results: Stroke patients and caregivers reported many and diverse educational needs, which often were not met. The educational needs of stroke patients and caregivers concerned knowledge about the clinical aspects of stroke, prevention, treatment and functional recovery. The most commonly reported needs of caregivers involved patients' moving and lifting, exercises, psychological changes and nutritional issues. Patients and caregivers wanted information that was tailored to their situation.

Conclusion: Patients and caregivers have many unmet educational needs. The findings call for improved education of patients and caregivers on various issues that are specific to the various recovery phases after stroke.

Practice implications: The findings of this review can be used to develop educational interventions for stroke patients and caregivers. Further research is needed to investigate the feasibility and effects of educational interventions and whether they meet the educational needs of patients and caregivers.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Caregivers*
  • Health Education
  • Humans
  • Needs Assessment*
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Patient Preference*
  • Stroke Rehabilitation*