Objective: To examine the evidence base underlying self-management programmes specific to stroke survivors.
Data sources: Eleven electronic databases were searched using combinations of keywords related to stroke and self-management.
Review methods: Studies involving adults with a clinical diagnosis of stroke, which explored self-management interventions, were included. Study selection was verified by two reviewers who independently conducted methodological quality appraisal and data extraction using a tool developed by The American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine.
Results: Fifteen studies were included in this review. Significant treatment effects in favour of the self-management intervention were found in six out of nine randomized controlled trials, and three out of six non-randomized trials in our review. Four randomized controlled trials involving more than 100 participants per trial reported statistically significant results in favour of the self-management group in relation to measures of disability, confidence in recovery, the stroke specific quality of life (sub-scales of family roles and fine motor tasks), and the physical component scale of the short form SF-36 Score. The wide range of outcome measures used prevented comparison across studies.
Conclusions: This review provides some preliminary support for the potential importance of self-management interventions after stroke. The most appropriate content and best approach for delivery of these interventions remains to be determined. Further high-quality randomized controlled trials are needed to test the feasibility, acceptability, and efficacy of stroke self-management programmes.
Keywords: Self-management; stroke; systematic review.