IMAGINE Study Protocol


Parc Sanitari Pere Virgili




Patients (>=60 Years Old) Suffering From Mild-moderate Stroke (Ischemic or Hemorrhagic, Stroke Severity Assessed by NIHSS <16 Points)


Behavioral: Motivational interviewing

Study type


Funder types



IMAGINE (ID 373 / 49)

Details and patient eligibility


Background: Rehabilitation pathways are crucial to reduce stroke-related disability. Motivational Interviewing (MI), a centred-person intervention aimed to empower and motivate the patient, could be a resource to improve rehabilitation and its outcomes for older stroke survivors. Objective: The IMAGINE project aims to assess the impact of MI associated to standard geriatric rehabilitation, on 30 days functional improvement measured by the Functional Independence Measure (FIM), compared to standard geriatric rehabilitation alone, in patients admitted to geriatric rehabilitation after a stroke. Secondary objectives will be to assess the impact on physical activity and performance, self-efficacy, sense of coherence, safety, cost-utility and participants' experience, plus functional status at 3 months. Methods: Multicenter randomized clinical trial in three geriatric rehabilitation departments. Older adults after mild-moderate stroke without previous dementia, post-stroke severe cognitive impairment or delirium at admission, severe previous disability, aphasia or terminal conditions will be randomized into the control or the intervention group (136 per group, total N = 272). The control group will receive written information about the benefits of exercising, besides standard rehabilitation. The intervention group, in addition, will receive 4 sessions of MI by trained nurses. A shared tailored plan based on patients' goals, needs, preferences and capabilities will be agreed. Besides the FIM, in-hospital physical activity will be measured through accelerometers (activPAL) and secondary outcomes using internationally validated scales. As a complex intervention, a process evaluation and cost-utility assessments will be performed too. Results: Final results are expected by end of 2020. Implications: This project aims to achieve impacts on functional status, disability and physical performance and behavioral (increasing physical activity) and psychological implications (on general self-efficacy and sense of coherence) through a non-pharmacological and likely accessible, acceptable and scalable intervention. Efficiency and value, based on costs/quality adjusted life years, will be assessed. Moreover, a reduction in post-stroke disability would have social benefits also for families and would reduce health and social care costs. In brief, advances will be in terms of a better rehabilitation process.

Full description

IMAGINE project aims to investigate the effect of adding an adapted MI approach to the usual geriatric rehabilitation to motivate and empower stroke patients to participate in their own rehabilitation plan and thus, to increase their physical activity and engagement in self-care and other activities. The main aim is to finally improve patients' physical and global function and, in turn, to reduce dependency. As mentioned, there is evidence-base around MI in rehabilitation, which covers functional, clinical and efficiency aspects. It is expected that IMAGINE project will add a relevant contribution for the implementation of this intervention in older adults with post-stroke residual disability and dependency needing rehabilitation. Accordingly, this study should inform practice and policy on how to move forward towards shared decision making and shared responsibilities in a vulnerable population such as older adults with a recent stroke.


272 estimated patients




60 to 110 years old


No Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

  • Older adults (>=60 years old).
  • Admitted to the geriatric rehabilitation hospital after a mild-moderate stroke (ischemic or hemorrhagic); stroke severity assessed by National Institute of Health Stroke Severity (NIHSS) scale <16 points.
  • Able to provide informed consent.

Exclusion criteria

  • Previous diagnosis of dementia (ascertained from medical records).
  • Moderate-severe post-stroke cognitive impairment (Pfeiffer SMPQ>7 errors) or persistent delirium after 7 days from admission.
  • Previous severe disability in the activities of daily living (pre-stroke Barthel index <20/100 points).
  • Severe stroke which might limit recovery (NIHSS>=16).
  • Aphasia or other problems which limit communication and 6) advanced and terminal condition (prognosis not exceeding 6 months).

Trial design

Primary purpose




Interventional model

Parallel Assignment


Triple Blind

272 participants in 2 patient groups

MI Intervention
Experimental group
Standard geriatric rehabilitation combined with 4 MI sessions (within 72 hours from admission, within 6 days, at 1 week from the second session and pre-discharge, respectively). MI will be delivered by nurses trained through a certified MI course and additional group coaching sessions will be offered them throughout the study. Quality control of the MI sessions will be carried out using Motivational Interviewing Treatment Integrity (MITI) Code 3.1.1 through random video recording.
Behavioral: Motivational interviewing
Standard rehabilitation
No Intervention group
Routine geriatric rehabilitation will include a multidisciplinary and individualized treatment plan based on comprehensive geriatric and specific rehabilitation assessments. As a specific control intervention, within 72 hours from admission a nurse without training in MI will handle the patient written information about generic benefits of exercising.

Trial contacts and locations



Central trial contact

Carmina Castellano-Tejedor, PhD; Marco Inzitari, PhD

Data sourced from

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