Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
2019-Merriman-“I’m just not a Sudoku person” accepted.pdf (468.53 kB)

“I’m just not a Sudoku person”: analysis of stroke survivor, carer, and healthcare professional perspectives for the design of a cognitive rehabilitation intervention

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-12-08, 12:01 authored by Niamh Merriman, Carlos Bruen, Ashleigh Gorman, Frances HorganFrances Horgan, David WilliamsDavid Williams, Niall PenderNiall Pender, Elaine ByrneElaine Byrne, Anne HickeyAnne Hickey
Purpose: Exploring the views of those impacted by stroke is key to the design of an effective and appropriate cognitive rehabilitation intervention for post-stroke cognitive impairment. This qualitative study examined the perspectives and preferences of stroke survivors, carers, and healthcare professionals to inform the design of a cognitive rehabilitation intervention.
Design and methods: The research employed a qualitative study design and thematic analysis of data. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with stroke survivors (n = 14), carers (n = 11), and healthcare professionals involved in providing stroke care (n = 19). Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. Coding was conducted and themes were developed both inductively and deductively.
Results: Themes address five broad areas relevant for the design and implementation of the intervention: (i) activities to include; (ii) when it takes place; (iii) location; (vi) format; (v) who the intervention should include.
Conclusions: Qualitative work with stroke survivors, carers and healthcare professionals provided vital information for the intervention design. Issues identified by participants as being key to intervention development included: (i) implications of post-stroke cognitive impairment survivors’ confidence; (ii) their individual capacity in terms of fatigue and metacognition; and (iii) practical issues such as intervention location. The inclusion of psychoeducation regarding consequences of stroke was recommended.Implications for rehabilitation Stroke survivors, carers, and rehabilitation professionals who provide stroke care can provide valuable insights and ideas to inform the development of a cognitive rehabilitation intervention. A cognitive rehabilitation intervention should be tailored to patient-specified goals, incorporating both group and individualized activities. Information, education, and communication are required to help stroke survivors and carers understand the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral consequences of stroke. Intervention content should be considerate of stroke survivors’ capacity in terms of cognitive impairment and fatigue levels.


Health Research Board HRB of Ireland Grant No. ICE 2015-1048



This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Disability and Rehabilitation on 11 April 2019, available online:

Published Citation

Merriman NA, et al. "I'm just not a Sudoku person": analysis of stroke survivor, carer, and healthcare professional perspectives for the design of a cognitive rehabilitation intervention. Disabil Rehabil. 2020;42(23):3359-3369.

Publication Date

11 April 2019

PubMed ID



  • Health Psychology
  • School of Physiotherapy
  • Medicine
  • Beaumont Hospital
  • Graduate School of Healthcare Management

Research Area

  • Health Professions Education
  • Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders
  • Population Health and Health Services
  • Vascular Biology


Informa UK Limited


  • Accepted Version (Postprint)