The RETAKE study is a four-year study that aims to determine whether early stroke specific vocational rehabilitation (ESSVR) in addition to usual NHS rehabilitation is more effective and cost effective at returning stroke survivors to work and keeping them there at 12 months post-randomisation than usual NHS rehabilitation alone.
Return to work is a major goal for many stroke survivors but is achieved by fewer than half of working people. There is a lack of evidence on how best to support stroke survivors wanting to return to work. A new therapy has been developed ‘Early Stroke Specific Vocational Rehabilitation’ (ESSVR). This is delivered by occupational therapists and includes matching survivors’ abilities to job demands and negotiating return to work with an existing employer.
We are conducting a definitive 20 centre multicentre randomised controlled trial to test the clinical effectiveness of ESSVR and usual NHS rehabilitation (compared to usual NHS rehabilitation alone) at returning stroke survivors to work and keeping them there 12 months after stroke.
Alongside the trial we are conducting an economic evaluation (to test for cost effectiveness) and a process evaluation to examine what was actually delivered during the trial and how the intervention was experienced by those receiving and delivering it. This will help us to understand what was good about the intervention and what we can do in the future to improve the intervention. We aim to recruit 760 stroke survivors, aged 18 or over and employed at the time of stroke, from 20 NHS centres. Approximately half will be randomly allocated to ESSVR in addition to their usual NHS rehabilitation (usual Care), and half to usual care alone. We will follow up participants with postal questionnaires at three, six and 12 months and offer help over the telephone when needed.
The trial has an eight-site internal pilot in the first year to check that we are able to recruit the number of participants needed across multiple sites and to make sure we can collect the expected number of questionnaires completed by the stroke survivors and their nominated carers.
The trial is led by Dr Kate Radford, Associate Professor in Rehabilitation Research at the University of Nottingham and managed by the Clinical Trials Research Unit at the University of Leeds.
UPDATE: The HTA has approved a two year extension to the project from 1 Dec 2021 to the 30 Nov 2023