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Improving occupational therapy care for stroke survivors with visual impairment (Ref: SHLS22108)

   School of Health and Life Sciences

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  Dr Christine Hazelton, Dr Lesley Scobbie, Prof Frederike van Wijck  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project


Visual impairment affects approximately 240,000 stroke survivors in the UK and is linked to poorer functional outcomes1. Over one quarter of stroke survivors have vision-related unmet needs2, and are required to self-source information, rehabilitation and support3

 UK vision services post-stroke are variable4. Within stroke teams, occupational therapists (OTs) lead vision care. Our prior work shows 49% of Scottish stroke OTs have training-related barriers to improving vision care, with limited knowledge of assessments (45%) and treatments (36%)5. Improving education on visual impairment is a research priority6.



To identify current OT practice and training needs related to vision care after stroke; to create, deliver and evaluate a novel evidence-based, comprehensive and accessible training programme to improve vision care after stroke; and explore its impact.


● a survey of OT’s clinical practice in vision care after stroke, to update our 2011 work and gather information about vision assessments, treatments, barriers, and training needs

  ● design and deliver a comprehensive training intervention, likely using a using a mixed-methods iterative process, informed by the RE-AIM framework7, with input from clinical and stroke survivor stakeholders, and international experts with clinical and education specialisms.

 We envisage online delivery to maximise accessibility, and training which educates and upskills OTs (and potentially other healthcare professionals) in the use of core, validated vision assessments, interventions and outcome measures. This will have scope for implementation beyond the UK.

    evaluate the impact on clinician’s knowledge, practice and confidence in addressing visual impairment after stroke.

This project sits within the Stroke and Neurological Rehabilitation Research Group, and is based in the NMAHP Research Unit


Should have a minimum of an Honours (2:1 or better) degree in a relevant subject. Experience of stroke and/or vision care, and involvement in training/teaching activities will be beneficial. A minimum English language level of IELTS score of 6.5 (or equivalent) with no element below 6.0 is required.

Candidates should submit a more detailed proposal for this project (maximum 2000 words) as part of the application.

How to Apply

This project is available as a 3 years full-time PhD study programme with expected start date of 1 October 2023.

Candidates are encouraged to contact the research supervisors for the project before applying. 

Please note that emails to the supervisory team or enquires submitted via this project advert do not constitute formal applications; applicants should apply using the Application Process page, choosing subject area Health and Social Care and Oct 2023 Start.  

Applicants shortlisted for the PhD project will be contacted for an interview within four weeks from the closing date.  

Supervisor research profiles

Dr Christine Hazelton

Dr Lesley Scobbie

Prof Frederike van Wijck

Funding Notes

The GCU studentship is worth at least £22,548 per year for three years. The studentship covers payment of tuition fees (£4,880 for Home/RUK students or £16,800 for EU/International students) plus an annual stipend of £17,668 for Home/RUK students or an annual scholarship of £6,548 for EU/International students.
EU/International candidates of outstanding calibre may be awarded a studentship of £34,468 per year for three years. The International Enhanced Scholarship covers payment of tuition fees (£16,800) plus an annual stipend of £17,668.
For further details please see our Fees and Funding and Research Scholarships and Studentships webpages.


1. Ali M, Hazelton C, Lyden P, Pollock A, Brady M on behalf of the VC. Recovery From Poststroke Visual Impairment: Evidence From a Clinical Trials Resource. Neurorehabil. Neural Repair. 2013;27:133–141.
2. McKevitt C, Fudge N, Redfern J, Sheldenkar A, Crichton S, Wolfe C. UK Stroke Survivor Needs Survey. UK: The Stroke Association: 2010.
3. Falkenberg HK, Mathisen TS, Ormstad H, Eilertsen G. “Invisible” visual impairments. A qualitative study of stroke survivors’ experience of vision symptoms, health services and impact of visual impairments. BMC Health Serv. Res. 2020;20:1–12.
4. Rowe FJ. Care provision and unmet need for post stroke visual impairment. London: Thomas Pocklington Trust: 2014.
5. Pollock A, Hazelton C, Brady M. Visual problems after stroke: a survey of current practice in UK stroke inpatient settings. Top. Stroke Rehabil. 2011;18:643–651.
6. Hazelton C, Todhunter-Brown A, Campbell P, Thomson K, Nicolson DJ, McGill K, Chung CS, Dorris L, Gillespie D, Hunter SM, et al. Interventions for perceptual disorders after stroke: a scoping review, Cochrane systematic review and priority setting project (PIONEER). London, UK: 2022 (in press)
7. Glasgow R, Vogt T, Boles M. Evaluating the Public Health Impact of Health Promotion Interventions : The RE-AIM Framework. Am. J. Public Health. 1999;89:1322–1327.
8. Hakkennes S, Green S. Measures for assessing practice change in medical practitioners. Implement. Sci. [Internet]. 2006 [cited 2019 Oct 15];1:29. Available from:
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