Do family-oriented interventions reduce poststroke depression? A systematic review and recommendations for practice Academic Article uri icon


  • Up to half of all stroke survivors become depressed. Poststroke depression (PSD) negatively impacts on quality of life and rehabilitation outcomes and increases risk of mortality. Depression is also common in carers, leading to poorer outcomes in survivors. Few stroke patients receive adequate care to support prevention and management of PSD. We aimed to systematically review the evidence regarding the effectiveness of family-oriented interventions to prevent and manage depression after stroke and identify components of effective interventions.A systematic review was conducted, adhering to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines. Eight databases were searched, and relevant journals and reference lists were hand searched. Abstracts were screened for relevance and two authors independently assessed selected full texts against inclusion criteria. Studies were included if they (1) engaged stroke patients and their informal/family caregivers; (2) measured changes in depression due to an intervention; and (3) were available in English.Twenty-five of 2741 identified citations met the inclusion criteria. Five studies demonstrated significant reductions in depression. Commonalities across effective studies included the delivery of interventions that were structured and multicomponent, actively engaged patients and families, coordinated care, and were initiated soon after a stroke.Family-oriented stroke rehabilitation may reduce depression in stroke survivors and their family caregivers. More research is required to clarify the effectiveness, feasibility, and acceptability of working with families and patients living with or who may be at risk of PSD.

publication date

  • 2015