Understanding TIA: an ethnographic study of TIA consultations.

B.M. Bridgwood, A. Wilson, D. Clarke, H. Eborall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND:Transient ischaemic attack (TIA) is a transient episode of neurological dysfunction. Rapid access TIA clinics have been set up as integrated 'one-stop' clinics that aim to investigate, diagnose, educate and implement treatment to reduce the risk of further TIA/stroke. OBJECTIVE:This study aimed to examine how TIA consultations were conducted by observing the consultations and then interviewing patients. METHODS:This ethnographic study observed fifteen patient-clinician consultations where a diagnosis of TIA was made within three different TIA outpatient clinics in the East Midlands. All fifteen patients, their accompanying family-members/carers and three stroke clinicians were interviewed. Data analysis was informed by the constant comparative approach. RESULTS:There was considerable variation in the conduct of these consultations across sites and clinicians. This resulted in variation in patient experience and knowledge after the consultation including the ability to recognize TIA-associated risk factors and their management. As TIA symptoms resolve, patients may reduce their need to seek health care services in addition to demonstrating reduced concordance with secondary stroke prevention. Health professionals recognize that this single appointment provides patients with a large amount of information which may be difficult to process. Importantly, there was little discussion about future symptoms and how to respond. A management plan, which considered a patient's health belief, knowledge and encouraged the involvement of family members, improved information recall. CONCLUSIONS:TIA is a complex medical diagnosis with multiple risk factors that may make the management complex and hence difficult for patients to undertake. Our findings found variability in the conduct, provision of information and patient understanding. Guidance on nationally agreed consultation framework may prove useful. Improved patient education may include individualized/sustained education utilizing multidisciplinary team members across family/primary and secondary care, video or greater online education and improved general public education.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFamily Practice
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2020


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