Early Mobilisation After Stroke: Barriers and Enablers for Effective Use of Population-Level Evidence to Inform Individualised Clinical Decision-Making
AuthorRethnam, Venesha Udayakumar
AffiliationFlorey Department of Neuroscience and Mental Health
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2020 Venesha Udayakumar Rethnam
Early mobilisation, defined as sitting out of bed, standing or walking early after stroke, is an important constituent of acute stroke unit care. However, the multifaceted and complex nature of early mobilisation evidence and interventions, clinical practice guideline development and reporting, and the characteristics of stroke patients and their outcomes challenges individualised decision-making. The overall objective of this thesis was to investigate the barriers and enablers in the effective use of population-level evidence to inform individual patient-level clinical decision-making for early mobilisation post-stroke. The objective was achieved by conducting five studies: (1) a review of early mobilisation clinical practice guidelines as decision-support tools for individual patient-level decision-making; (2) a meta-analysis of individual participant data from EM trials, (3) an investigation of factors guiding early mobilisation decision-making by expert stroke clinicians, and investigation of how well (4) the utility-weighted modified Rankin scale, and (5) modified Rankin scale reflect post-stroke burden for an individual patient. (1) Based on the findings from the review of clinical practice guidelines, the decision-support requirements were met to a varying degree by early mobilisation clinical practice guidelines. Four key recommendations were formed for the future development of clinical practice guidelines. These included more granular descriptions of patient and stroke characteristics to allow tailoring of decisions to individual patients; clarity about when clinical flexibility is appropriate; a detailed description of the intervention dose, and physical assessment criteria including safety parameters. (2) The individual participant meta-analysis allowed the inclusion of individual patient-specific information and further strengthened earlier evidence from conventional meta-analyses that commencement of early mobilisation should only be considered after 24 hours post-stroke. It also reinforced the importance of adequate reporting of early mobilisation interventions to ensure the applicability of evidence to individual patients. (3) Interviews with expert stroke clinicians revealed that more than 80 percent of stroke experts considered stroke type and severity, medical stability to be the most important factors contributing to decision-making about early mobilisation. Inadequate staffing, equipment and low level of staff expertise were barriers for early mobilisation. (4) Based on the investigations of the utility-weighted modified Rankin scale, high variability in individual patient-centred utility values between and within mRS categories, over time post-stroke, and using different derivation methods was found. This variability is not adequately reflected in the utility-weighted modified Rankin scale. (5) Quality of life and activities of daily living domains demonstrated patient-specific patterns of post-stroke burden across the mRS and UW-mRS. From this research, gaps in the early mobilisation evidence base were identified that require future exploration of existing data and the development of new clinical trials to better support evidence-based clinical decision-making. Detailed areas of improvement for clinical practice guidelines as decision support tools were also identified to effectively translate population-level evidence to inform complex clinical decision-making at an individual patient-level. Finally, the identified multifaceted patterns of post-stroke burden across the utility-weighted modified Rankin scale and modified Rankin scale may facilitate appropriate assessment, articulation and interpretation of the outcomes for individual patient decision-making. The collective work has substantially contributed to systematically identifying the barriers and enablers in using population-level evidence to inform patient-level clinical decision-making in this challenging clinical context.
KeywordsStroke; Early mobilisation; Decision-making; Rehabilitation; Clinical decisions; Stroke recovery
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