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A new way of working with stroke patients and their families may enhance the treatment of post-stroke depression, say researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

UEA’s School of Nursing Sciences (NSC) is appealing for families living with the effects of a stroke to take part in a clinical trial that provides some families with extra support. Other families will follow the standard treatment path, to explore whether families who follow the programme show improved mood.

The study, run jointly with the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, is building on research that shows patients and carers who work together in the rehabilitation process can achieve more positive results in recovering from stroke.

Strokes occur unexpectedly and can have life changing consequences for sufferers and their families. Up to half of all stroke survivors will develop depression.

Carers are also more likely to suffer from depression due to the worry and changes in family and work life that occurs when becoming a carer.

Susan Campbell, lecturer in health services research at NSC, said: “This study is vital in demonstrating the already recognised link between stroke sufferers and depression, and identifying the most effective ways to both recognise and treat depression when it occurs”.

“We want stroke sufferers and their families to come forward to trial this programme so that we may share the results with the wider medical and mental health professions.”

The study is looking for people who have suffered a stroke between 3 and 6 months ago and have someone who they consider to be a ‘main carer’. This may be a relative, partner or friend and either or both may be experiencing low mood or depression. Participants will need to be living at home and both would need to agree to take part in the research.

Those who are interested in taking part can find out more about the study by contacting the Trial Manager, Joanne Lucas on 01603 597196 or email j.lucas@uea.ac.uk.