Question: Is training informal carers of people who have had a stroke cost-effective?
Study design: Single blind randomised controlled trial.
Main results: Carer training did not affect quality–adjusted life years (QALYs) lost over one year (QALYs: untrained carers 0.94 at baseline to 0.90 at 1 year, trained carers 0.94 at baseline to 0.91 at 1 year, between group difference reported non-significant). Carer training reduced patients’ initial hospital stay (mean stay 30.8 days with training v 43.2 days with no training; mean difference –12.4 days, 95% CI –19.5 to −5.6). Carer training reduced the total cost of patient care in the year following the stroke, mostly due to reducing the initial hospital stay (see Results table).
Authors’ conclusions: Training informal carers of stroke patients significantly reduces health and social care costs over the year following the stroke. This difference was mostly attributable to a reduced hospital stay among patients whose carers had received training.