Exploring recruitment issues in stroke research: a qualitative study of nurse researchers' experiences.
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Aim To explore the practice of experienced stroke nurse researchers to understand the issues they face in recruiting participants. Background Participant recruitment is one of the greatest challenges in conducting clinical research, with many trials failing due to recruitment problems. Stroke research is a particularly difficult area in which to recruit; however various strategies can improve participation. Discussion Analysis revealed three main types of problems for recruiting participants to stroke research: those related to patients, those related to the nurse researcher, and those related to the study itself. Impairments affecting capacity to consent, the acute recruitment time frame of most stroke trials, paternalism by nurse researchers, and low public awareness were especially pertinent. Conclusion The disabling nature of a stroke, which often includes functional and cognitive impairments, and the acute stage of illness at which patients are appropriate for many trials, make recruiting patients particularly complex and challenging. Implications for practice An awareness of the issues surrounding the recruitment of stroke patients may help researchers in designing and conducting trials. Future work is needed to address the complexities of obtaining informed consent when patient capacity is compromised.