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A toolkit for employers supporting employees’ return to work post-stroke

An experience-based co-design approach to develop an interactive toolkit for employers to support stroke survivor employees’ return to work post-stroke

What we are doing?

We will be utilising an experience-based, co-design approach to develop an interactive toolkit to improve employers’ knowledge and understanding of stroke and the return to work process. Various data collection methods (e.g., survey, interviews, workshops) will be employed to gain perspectives from stakeholders (i.e., employers from public, private and voluntary sectors), and to ensure the toolkit provides useful information and resources in an accessible format. As part of this process, we will apply theory and evidence to identify and describe the toolkit’s potential mechanisms of change; and identify potential contextual factors and barriers and facilitators to future implementation.

Why we are doing it?

The number of working age stroke survivors is increasing, and many have disabilities. Employers are legally required to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees, and clinical guidelines recommend they seek expert advice when an employee returns to work. However, organisations do not always have access to such advice. Research has shown that stroke survivors and their employers often lack knowledge and understanding of stroke and the return to work process. Employers often look online for advice, but online resources are often brief and do not include materials to consolidate learning and increase understanding of the return to work process (e.g., case study examples, pathway diagrams). 

What the benefits will be and to whom? 

Successful development and future implementation of the toolkit could lead to employers having greater understanding and knowledge for supporting stroke survivor employees with their return to work post-stroke. Returning to- and maintaining their working roles could provide these employees with financial security, a sense of purpose and self-worth, and routine and structure to their daily lives.

The toolkit could also benefit organisations because it would encourage implementation of best practice recommendations,   potentially leading to reductions in sickness absence costs and improved productivity among their stroke survivor employees.

Who we are working with:

Our steering group will include at least two members of the public who can provide input based on direct experiences of the research topic (see below), as well as key contacts from the University of Nottingham, the Ossie Newell Foundation, and NIHR ARC. 

The stakeholder participants will include employers from micro-, small- and medium-sized organisations across private, public and voluntary sectors, and will likely include human resources professionals, occupational health physicians, and occupational therapists with experience in vocational rehabilitation and/or stroke.


Kristelle Craven,PhD student, Division of Rehabilitation, Ageing & Wellbeing, Medical School, University of Nottingham,

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