Researcher Case Study
SLEEP AFTER STROKE POLICY WORKSHOP - DR MELANIE FLEMING
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR POLICY ENGAGEMENT EVENT?
Sleep is very important for function and repair of the body. Good sleep quality is likely to be important in giving the best chance of recovery of movement for patients who have had a stroke. Sleep problems are often reported by people after stroke, however sleep problems are not screened for or treated in the stroke care pathway. In this project, we brought together stroke survivors alongside key stakeholders with influence across healthcare, charities, academia, and policy organisations, in a workshop to discuss practical barriers and solutions to screening and treating sleep in the stroke care pathway, and to develop a strategy to influence policy and change in the future.
HOW WAS YOUR POLICY ENGAGEMENT EVENT FUNDED? WHAT WAS THE FUNDING APPLICATION PROCESS/TIMELINE LIKE?
The project was funded by an Oxford Policy Engagement Network (OPEN) seed fund award. The funding offers awards of up to £5,000 to enable researchers at the University of Oxford, and public policy professionals anywhere in the world to kick- start or deepen collaboration, working together to design, deliver and evaluate projects. Applications must include a policy partner so the main barrier to this funding is whether you can find a policy partner that meets OPEN’s requirements who is willing to collaborate on the project.
HOW WAS YOUR POLICY EVENT EVALUATED, AND WHAT WERE SOME OF THE MAIN FINDINGS?
The policy workshop was evaluated by complete an end of project report. The main findings that were established as a result of the workshop were:
- Greater awareness is required about the importance of sleep after stroke.
- Training is needed for clinicians, family members and stroke survivors.
- Resources are necessary for clinical staff and the volunteer sector to share with stroke survivors.
HOW DID YOU AND YOUR RESEARCH BENEFIT FROM POLICY ENGAGEMENT?
It brought our research to the attention of key stakeholders relevant to the stroke rehabilitation clinical care pathway throughout Oxfordshire. We have built great connections with stakeholders and increased the awareness of the importance of sleep after stroke. Our policy partners were instrumental to achieving the project goals and will be key to any future policy engagement work.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOUR FUTURE POLICY ENGAGEMENT PLANS?
We will continue to work with our policy partners and stakeholders to increase the awareness about the importance of sleep after stroke and provide informative resources for stroke survivors. We will be prepared to engage with future policy guideline reviews.
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP TIPS FOR OTHER RESEARCHERS PLANNING POLICY EVENT?
- Get as much core staff team support costed into the funding application as possible.
- Including people with lived experience of stroke into the policy workshop helped put discussion points into perspective.
- Partnering with a charity made patient involvement easily achievable.
- Walk before you can run – the steps to impact might be smaller than you think!