The Effect of A Web-Based Stroke Intervention on Carers' Well-Being and Survivors' Use of Healthcare Services

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Disability and Rehabilitation


Purpose: We hypothesised that carers of stroke survivors who participate in the Web-based intervention, Caring∼Web©, would have higher well-being than non-Web users. We also postulated that those survivors whose carers participated in Caring∼Web would use fewer healthcare services. Method: A randomised, two-group, repeated measures design was used. Subjects were recruited from four rehabilitation centres from which first-time stroke survivors were discharged to home in two Midwestern states. Of 144 carers screened, 103 carers of these survivors who were novice Internet users were assigned to a Web or non-Web user group. Seventy-three subjects completed the study. Intervention: Caring∼Web was a Web-based intervention of education and support provided to the Web user group for 1 year. A bi-monthly telephone survey collected data on all carers well-being (perceived depression, life satisfaction) and survivors healthcare service use (self-reported provider and emergency department visits, hospital re-admissions, nursing home placement). Results: No statistical differences were found between the groups in carers well-being or in the number of provider visits for survivors. There were significant differences in emergency department visits (p = 0.001) and hospital re-admissions (p = 0.0005) related to the health of survivors. Conclusions: This Web-based intervention helped new carers make informed decisions about healthcare needs of stroke survivors, thus reducing service use.