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Stroke Research

Our Stroke Research Team is the UK’s only nurse-led stroke research unit and is working closely with national and international partners to promote stroke research and improve care and education standards.

Acute care, rehabilitation, and prevention and community care are the three key themes for our multidisciplinary research which is represented globally at conferences and clinical meetings. Our research outcomes contributed to the National Clinical Guidelines for Stroke.

The Stroke Research team:

  • Is increasing the evidence base for stroke care.
  • Is working to implement research evidence into practice.
  • Is working in partnership with service providers, commissioners and service users in order to design, deliver, interpret and disseminate stroke research.
  • Is multidisciplinary, with representatives from nursing, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, dietetics, psychology, sociology, health economics and statistics.
  • Has an established national and growing international profile.

The team is part of the Clinical Practice Research Unit (CPRU), where research is organised under three key themes:

  • Acute care
  • Rehabilitation
  • Prevention and community care

Research methods expertise includes

  • Cohort studies
  • Randomised controlled trials.
  • Systematic reviews
  • Economic modelling research methods
  • Qualitative research
  • Implementation research


Our research spans the stroke pathway and focusses on topics of key concern to patients and carers. We publish in high quality peer-reviewed international academic journals and present our research nationally and internationally at conferences and clinical meetings.

Not only do we work closely with academics and clinicians through service development, audit and research, but we also contribute to national policy and guidelines, for example, the National Clinical Guideline for Stroke (2012).

Team members are actively involved in promoting stroke research and education standards nationally through representation on the National Stroke Nursing Forum, the Scientific Committee for the UK Stroke Forum, the Society for Research in Rehabilitation, the Physiotherapy Research Society, and through the development of the Stroke-Specific Education Framework (SSEF).

Our NIHR-funded ESCORTT study has provided world-class evidence that will enhance recognition of stroke at a very early stage, facilitating emergency access to stroke specialists and life-saving stroke treatments.

Through international collaborations we have become the UK co-ordinating centre for HeadPoST, the largest multi-centre study of nursing care in acute stroke, exploring the effects of head positioning.

Our work around swallowing problems after stroke has led to the development of competences and an assessment tool. The NIHR-funded ICONS project is aiming to provide evidence that can guide the management of urinary incontinence after stroke, by developing and testing an intervention that includes conservative strategies to promote continence.

The PRACTISE project, funded through an NIHR fellowship, will promote recovery of arm function after stroke by creating clinical tools to improve decision making, provide arm exercises and support monitoring and follow-up.

Our Motivational Interviewing study was the first to demonstrate the substantial benefits of talk-based therapy for well-being and survival after stroke. The results of this study sparked worldwide interest: having been posted on websites, and with over 100 million people accessing the journal article.

We have also been asked to collaborate in studies utilising MI in stroke and in other disease (HIV). We are continuing to build on this success, promoting the post-stroke psychological agenda through the development of training – there is evidence that stroke-specific staff are accessing training in MI – and collaborations with psychological services.

This research group contributes to the cross-disciplinary research sub-theme Evidence for Societal Change.

To find out more about stroke research, contact Professor Dame Caroline Watkins.

Tel: +44 (0)1772 895542 Email:


North West Stroke Conference 2018

Related Research Groups

Related Research Projects

  • LINCS: Lancashire Initiative for Nursing and Caring research in Stroke
  • TeRaFS: Technology in Radiotherapy


For more information, or to get involved with stroke research, please email: