Resources for Stroke during the COVID-19 pandemic

The situation regarding the COVID pandemic is one which continues to keep changing with time and between countries, and even within countries. But the article below was written earlier this year with usuefull links to resources relating to stroke during the time of the pandemic.

During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, which introduces so much change and uncertainty to both our personal and professional lives, we are all trying to keep a close eye on how the situation is evolving.  There is a real danger of information overload and not everything that is being circulated in the public domain is useful or even true.  With this in mind, you might find some useful resources following these links and/or might like to contribute to the information being posted. 

We would especially commend the resources collated by the British Association of Stroke Physicians (BASP) – which are relevant to all clinicians working in stroke care and not just medics.

https://basp.ac.uk/covid-19-basp-resouce-hub/

Keeping up to date with COVID is a challenge.  Yvonne Chun (previous winner of the OPSYRIS Rising Star award), Terry Quinn and others are working to keep the BASP pages regularly updated. Even if you are not a physician you may want to follow BASP on Twitter @british_stroke

Below are also some useful and aphasia-friendly resources for people living with stroke: 

https://www.stroke.org.uk/finding-support/information-coronavirus-stroke-survivors

http://speakeasy-aphasia.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/The-Coronavirus.pdf

In the constantly changing COVID landscape knowledge is power.  If you are aware of other useful resources or have developed local guidance that could be shared nationally via BASP then email Terry (terry.quinn@glasgow.ac.uk).

Other materials:

https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1161/STROKEAHA.120.029701

https://eso-stroke.org/eso/stroke-care-during-covid-19-pandemic/

https://www.world-stroke.org/news-and-blog/news/words-from-the-president-of-wso-on-covid-19

https://www.bps.org.uk/sites/www.bps.org.uk/files/News/News%20-%20Files/Psychological%20needs%20of%20healthcare%20staff.pdf

https://www.bps.org.uk/sites/www.bps.org.uk/files/Policy/Policy%20-%20Files/Effective%20therapy%20via%20video%20-%20top%20tips.pdf

https://www.bps.org.uk/sites/www.bps.org.uk/files/Policy/Policy%20-%20Files/Responding%20to%20the%20coronavirus%20-%20psychological%20impact%20on%20older%20people.pdf

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScQQIapbl0Z72Vh5txQI3UGJbdUWEKh_b_d-nuxscIR2MjDKw/viewform

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/50a3e393e4b07025e1a4f0d0/t/5e8260be9a64587cfd3a9832/1585602750557/Recommendations-Guidance+for+Teleneuropsychology-COVID-19-4.pdf

Norwich Meeting Postponed

It is with regret, but with safety in mind, that the meeting at the Universty of East Anglia, Norwich, originally planned for 18th September, will not be running this year.

Norfolk, with its historic buildings, canal lined streets in the idyllic Norfolk, is the host city of the OPSYRIS 2021 meeting

However, we are delighted that the host, Dr Stephanie Rossit, welcomes us to Norwich for Autumn next year. As always, we look forward to a variety of oral and poster presentation. While it might be a year away, it might be good time to consider what work you would like to submit. It is also time to consider candidates for our rising star award.

The University of East Anglia, with its distinctdistinctive zigurat buildings and spacious grounds, where the OPSYRIS 2021 meeting shall be held

Remember that thankfully there will still be a meeting, allbeit a virtual one, planned for this year, and it is coming soon. The virtual meeting should take place on the 18th of September. Look forward to seeing many of you then.

Rising Star Dr. Yvonne Chun

I began my clinical research career with the stroke research group at the University of Edinburgh in 2014. After being awarded the Chief Scientist Office of Scotland Clinical Academic Fellowship, I conducted an observational study on the subtypes of anxiety disorders after stroke. I found that phobic disorder was the predominant anxiety subtype post-stroke. This led to the development and pilot testing of a telemedicine guided self-help cognitive behavioural therapy for anxiety after stroke (TASK-CBT) in a randomised controlled trial (TASK-I RCT). I presented the results of TASK-I RCT for the first time at the OPSYRIS conference in Glasgow in October 2018. I am hoping to take my work forward and evaluate TASK-CBT in a large definitive TASK-II RCT.

I am currently completing my clinical training as a geriatrician and stroke physician. My current research interests include applying evidence-based innovative digital technology to improve stroke care, empower stroke patients, and expedite the generation of robust evidence through efficient and high-quality clinical trials. My ongoing work includes developing an automated conversational agent for stroke patients, using actigraphy as clinical outcome measure in stroke trials, and efficient digitised clinical trial design e.g. TASK-II RCT.

My publications can be found here: https://www.research.ed.ac.uk/portal/en/persons/yvonne-chun(81691fe9-b14c-401c-852e-c8895461eaaa)/publications.html

Rising Star Dr. Yvonne Chun

New Content Added to Website

It’s still early days, but much new content has been added to the OPSYRIS website.

This includes some background information about OPSYRIS. Related to this are the Aims and Objectives of OPSYRIS and how to contact OPSYRIS. There is also a section for those interested in membership.

several pages on meetings have been added including articles on the 2018 meeting in Glasgow and 2019 meeting in Oxford. A highlight of the meetings is the rising star award which last year was won by Dr. Niamh Merriman.

These are still early days so expect more additions and changes soon.

Rising Star Dr Niamh Merriman

Dr Niamh Merriman was awarded the rising star award at the 2019 OPSYRIS meeting in Oxford.

She is a post-doctoral research fellow on the StrokeCog project at Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). Her research focuses on the development and testing of a novel complex intervention aimed at improving outcomes for patients with post-stroke cognitive impairment (PSCI).

Currently, psychological involvement in stroke care, and cognitive rehabilitation, is severely limited in Ireland. The intervention has been developed using an evidence-based approach in accordance with the framework recommended for developing and evaluating complex interventions by the Medical Research Council (MRC). Dr Merriman has undertaken a systematic review of the evidence-base for effectiveness of non-RCT psychological interventions for PSCI, and is currently involved in a Cochrane review of RCT psychological interventions aimed at PSCI.

She has done extensive qualitative work with stroke survivors, carers, & healthcare professionals to identify stakeholder perceptions on intervention.

Currently, Dr Merriman is engaged in a series of carefully constructed feasibility studies to establish the feasibility of intervention components including recruitment, assessment, intervention content and delivery. Findings from the intervention development process have been published in BMJ Open and in Disability and Rehabilitation, and presented at the European Stroke Organisation Conference and OPSYRIS 2018. Following feasibility testing, the aim is to test a pilot intervention and ultimately conduct a definitive trial of a psychological intervention for PSCI.

Dr Merriman has extensive experience in intervention design, having previously conducted intervention studies in the area of multisensory perception and spatial navigation at Trinity College Dublin (where she was awarded her PhD in 2015) and Disney Research.

Oxford 2019

After the highly successful 2018 OPSYRIS meeting in Glasgow, the next host was the highly prestigious University of Oxford. The meeting took place in Saint Anne’s College on Friday the 4th of October.

Saint Anne’s College, Oxford was the location for the 2019 OPSYRIS meeting

A highlights of the meeting was the talk from keynote speaker Professor Sarah Pendlebury from the host University renowned for her work on clinical neuroscience, geratology and stroke prevention.

Kenote speaker, Oxford University’s Sarah Pendlebury, discusses the risk of dementia after stroke

As with previous OPSYRIS meetings, talks covered a broad range of topics. These included cognitive screening, spacial memory after stroke, prioritising actions for post stroke survivors, screening for visual perception deficits, brain network degeneration, support for carers of stroke survivors, psychoeducation, post-stroke insomnia, reading impairments, rehabilitation and befriending for people with aphasia, ocupational therapy and several others.

One of several interesting “quick-fire” talks whose brevity allow for a wide range of topics to be covered

As with oral presentations, posters covered a wide range of topics. These included rehabilitation tools and strategies for discharged stroke victims, aceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) for psychological distress after stroke, feasibility and pilot testing, depression in caregivers, returning to work after stroke, spatial neglect, the effect of brain training on blood flow, associations between physical activity, sedentary behaviour and cognitive function among others. Several researchers from the host university contributed as well as those from Imperial College and King’s College, Glasgow, Cardiff, Lancaster, Manchester, Nottingham, Aga Khan (Pakistan) and East Anglia Universities.

Poster presentations provided an equally impressive range of topics

On what is becoming a highlight of OPSYRIS meetings, the rising star prize was this time nominated by OPSYRIS members. It was awarded to Dr Niamh Merriman from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). She has made important contributions on interventions improving the outcomes of patients with post stroke cognitive impairment.

Rising star Dr. Niamh Merriman receives her award fom Dr. Satu Baylan
Rising star Dr. Niamh Merriman receives her award fom Dr. Satu Baylan

Another feature making a welcome return from last year was the “how to…” sessions. This year they focussed on Patient, Carer and Public Involvement (PCPI) and prioritisation of Cochrane reviews. Following feedback from last years meeting, we also added sessions on implemented innovation in clinical service.

How to session on prioritising research giving valuable advice to researchers

After the meeting, OPSYRIS members looked forward to the next meeting due to be held at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. Until then, many of the speakers have thankfully shared their work and can be found on the shared drive for the Oxford 2019 OPSYRIS meeting.

Glasgow 2018

On Friday 5th of October 2018, OPSYRIS hosted their anual UK meeting in the historic and scenic University of Glasgow.

The University of Glasgow hosted the 2018 OPSYRIS annual meeting

There were a wide range of topics presented. These included depression treatment, post stroke anxiety, using home based tools for assessment and setting up a specialist stroke psychology clinic.

Glasgow 2018 OPSYRIS meeting on research into stroke psychology.
Presentations, oral and poster, covered a wide range of research topics

Speakers came from every corner of the country including those from the Universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, East Anglia, Manchester, Cardiff, Birmingham, Nottingham and several from the host city.

One of several useful talks during the meeting

Among those presenting were keynote speaker Dr. Shirley Thomas from the University of Nottingham discussing the BEADS trial looking at behavioural activation for post-stroke depression. The rising star award this year was won by Dr. Yvonne Chun at the University of Edinburgh who has contributed valuable work on anxiety after stroke.

Rising Star Yvone Chun and keynote speaker Professor Shirley Thomas show awards
Rising Star Dr. Yvonne Chun and keynote speaker Professor Shirley Thomas show awards at Glasgow OPSYRIS conference for psychological research into stroke

A welcome addition was a “how to” section with experts giving advice on  getting published, gaining grant funding and combining research with a clinical post. To this end invited speaker Dr Alan Carson, Associate Editor of the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry presented on getting published.

“How to…” sessions provided valuable information for researchers and practioners including getting funding, setting up a clinic and combining research and clinical work

The meeting was praised for creating a friendly and open environment for presenting work, asking questions, discussions and networking that participants found enjoyable, inspiring, informative and applicable to their practice and research.

OPSYRIS Glasgow post meeting
Participants of the OPSYRIS meet up in “The Friendly City” of Glasgow

However, it was the first OPSYRIS meeting arranged by the current team and much valuable feedback was taken post event and used for future events. There was much aniticipation for the next UK event at Oxford in 2019.

OPSYRIS Chair Dr. Terry Quinn closes the meeting in Glasgow 2018 as participants look forward to the following meeting in Oxford 2019

Thankfully many of the speakers shared their presentations online and can be found on the shared drive for OPSYRIS research Glasgow 2018. If you have problem accessing the contents please contact OPSYRIS.