BMJ open 2016 09 196(9) e011225 doi 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-011225
To identify patient-perceived benefits of memory rehabilitation and draw transferrable lessons for the delivery and evaluation of similar interventions for people with neurological disabilities.
A qualitative study was conducted as part of a pragmatic randomised controlled trial comparing 2 memory rehabilitation approaches with a self-help control group. Postintervention interviews were conducted with 20 participants with a diagnosis of traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis or stroke. Data were analysed using a qualitative content analysis approach.
Participants receiving memory rehabilitation reported that the sessions responded to previously unmet needs for information on brain injury and memory function and developed their insight along with a sense of self-efficacy and control over the management of their memory problems. Although they did not experience major improvements in their memory function per se, they reported that rehabilitation gave them the skills to effectively cope with the residual deficits. Respondents in the control groups did not report similar benefits. The opportunities for interaction offered by the group setting were greatly valued by all respondents. Mixed aetiology groups were received positively; however, marked differences in cognitive performance were frustrating for some participants.
The study highlighted important patient-perceived outcomes that should be considered by researchers and rehabilitation professionals when evaluating the effects of memory rehabilitation. The use of domain-specific outcome measures which reflect these areas is recommended. Qualitative changes in the use of memory aids may be achieved which cannot be captured by frequency indices alone. The benefits of the group-based rehabilitation approach were stressed by participants, suggesting that a combination of group and individual sessions might be a good practice.
TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER