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A toolkit for employers supporting stroke survivors to return to- and stay in work

An experience-based co-design approach to develop an interactive toolkit for employers supporting stroke survivors to return to- and stay in work post-stroke

What we are doing?

We will be using an experience-based, co-design approach to develop an interactive toolkit to improve the support given by employers to stroke survivors during the return-to-work process and beyond. Various data collection methods (e.g., survey, interviews, workshops) will be used to gain perspectives from employer stakeholders, and to ensure the toolkit provides useful information and resources in an accessible format. We will also apply theory and evidence to identify and describe the toolkit’s potential mechanisms of change; and identify potential 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 often do not include materials to consolidate learning (e.g., case study examples, practical aids, pathway diagrams). 

What the benefits will be and to whom? 

Successful development and implementation of the toolkit could lead to employers being better equipped for supporting stroke survivor employees to return to- and stay in work post-stroke. Returning to- and maintaining working roles could provide stroke survivor employees with financial security, a sense of purpose and self-worth, and routine and structure to their daily lives.

The toolkit may also benefit organisations by encouraging implementation of best practice recommendations, potentially leading to reductions in sickness absence costs and improved productivity among stroke survivor employees.

Who we are working with:

Our advisory group includes experts in human resources, occupational health, rehabilitation medicine, research methodology, vocational rehabilitation; and business management. Group members also include stroke survivors and representatives from national organisations (e.g., Stroke Association, Different Strokes). We will also be seeking input from a Patient and Public Involvement group of stroke survivors at the University of Nottingham.

The stakeholder participants will include employers across private, public and voluntary sectors; with experience supporting stroke survivors to return to- and stay in work.


Kristelle Craven, PhD student, Centre for Rehabilitation & Ageing Research (CRAR), Medical School, University of Nottingham,