Researchers from the University of Newcastle and HMRI are seeking to work with informal female carers of stroke survivors to develop strategies and tools to support carers to self-manage their emotional and physical health.

If you’re a woman who provides care or has provided care to someone who has had a stroke, we would appreciate your help by sharing your experiences in our focus group.


Why is the research being done?

 Providing care for a stroke survivor can be physically and emotionally straining. Sadly, this can have a negative impact on the wellbeing of carers.

Mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety, are very common in carers, with female carers being the most vulnerable to such illnesses. Additionally, it has been shown that mood disorders can further increase the risk for cardiovascular diseases.

Our research team want to better understand the complex relationship between gender, caregiving, and emotional and physical health. This will help us to develop strategies and tools to better support and encourage female carers to take care of their health and personal wellbeing whilst they care for a stroke survivor.

To ensure we can develop a program that is best suited to the needs of carers, we are seeking carers to share their insights and experiences.

What will the end program look like?

Our goal is that the end program will provide the best possible health outcomes for female carers of stroke survivors.

It aims to provide the right tools and strategies for caregivers to reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease.

Ideally, this program could be delivered in a range of formats including in-person, and via telehealth or online options to maximise the reach and ease of access.


Who can participate in the research study/trial?

 We are looking for volunteers who are:

  • An informal carer of a stroke survivor (ie. A spouse, family member or friend who currently cares for or has previously cared for a stroke survivor)
  • Female
  • Aged 18 years and over
  • Able to speak English


What will study participants be asked to do? What does the study involve?

 If you take part in the study, you will be asked to take part in a workshop at the HMRI Building in Newcastle (or via an online platform) to share your experiences and opinions. Free, reserved parking will be provided.

The workshop will run for approximately 90 mins (maximum 2 hours with a break) and researchers will encourage discussion around:

  • What is wanted in this type of program?
  • What might make it easy and difficult for you to regularly attend such a group?
  • What types of activities would interest you?
  • What should be included in the program?
  • What things need to be in place to ensure you feel safe?
  • How can we make sure such a group is suitable for you and other people who provide care for stroke survivors?

You may also be invited to come back for up to 4 more workshops to help refine the ideas and treatments we seek to build and deliver to female carers of people living with stroke.

Dr Heidi Janssen, Physiotherapist & Stroke Researcher will facilitate the workshop discussions. Dr Janssen (PhD, MHSC, BPhysio) is an experienced physiotherapist and researcher who is immersed clinically and academically in the field of stroke recovery and rehabilitation research. She currently works with Hunter New England Local Health District as a Senior Physiotherapist with Community and Aged Care Services Community Stroke Team, and with Hunter Stroke Service. Dr Janssen is one of very few senior allied health clinicians who actively leads clinical trials whilst working with stroke survivors and carers in the health system. Her clinical role is invaluable to informing the needs of the biggest stakeholders in stroke care: the stroke survivors,their formal and informal carers and families.

Click here to download the Participant Information Sheet


How do I take part?

If you are interested in participating, please feel free to contact our research team at or Principal Investigator Dr Heidi Janssen at or via phone (02) 4921 4037.