BACKGROUND: There is considerable policy interest in promoting self-management in patients with long-term conditions, but it remains uncertain whether these interventions are effective in stroke patients.
DESIGN: Systematic meta-review of the evidence for self-management support interventions with stroke survivors to inform provision of healthcare services.
METHODS: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsychINFO, AMED, BNI, Database of Abstracts of Reviews for Effectiveness, and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews for systematic reviews of self-management support interventions for stroke survivors. Quality was assessed using the R-AMSTAR tool, and data extracted using a customised data extraction form. We undertook a narrative synthesis of the reviews' findings.
RESULTS: From 12,400 titles we selected 13 systematic reviews (published 2003-2012) representing 101 individual trials. Although the term 'self-management' was rarely used, key elements of self-management support such as goal setting, action planning, and problem solving were core components of therapy rehabilitation interventions. We found high quality evidence that supported self-management in the context of therapy rehabilitation delivered soon after the stroke event resulted in short-term (< 1 year) improvements in basic and extended activities of daily living, and a reduction in poor outcomes (dependence/death). There is some evidence that rehabilitation and problem solving interventions facilitated reintegration into the community.
CONCLUSIONS: Self-management terminology is rarely used in the context of stroke. However, therapy rehabilitation currently successfully delivers elements of self-management support to stroke survivors and their caregivers with improved outcomes. Future research should focus on managing the emotional, medical and social tasks of long-term survivorship.