We are excited to share iPASTAR’s poster abstract titled ‘Exploring the experience and impact of Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) in the co-designed stroke doctoral research program iPASTAR (Improving Pathways in Acute Stroke and Rehabilitation)’ which has been submitted for the inaugural RCSI Public Patient Involvement (PPI) in research award at RCSI’s Research Day 2022 on March 9th.

There is growing consensus on the importance of public and patient involvement (PPI) in research as the lived experience of patients, family carers and users of health and social care services bring unique insights to healthcare research. Improving Pathways for Acute STroke And Rehabilitation (iPASTAR) is a Collaborative Doctoral Award (CDA) structured PhD training programme which aims to advance an evidence-based and cost-effective stroke pathway to improve the delivery of stroke care for patients in Ireland. Four PhD scholars are addressing the themed areas of thrombectomy, early supported discharge, lifestyle-based interventions after stroke and cost/cost-effectiveness of stroke care pathways.

Strong PPI engagement in this project methodology embeds bi-directional knowledge exchange, informed by a round-table PPI consultation process. This is integral to conceptualisation, participation, contribution and collaboration throughout the research cycle. A reflective iterative process will be enhanced as each scholar works collaboratively with an individual PPI stroke champion. In the spirit of openness and trust and embracing a supportive positive research culture, we further progressed this partnership by bringing together a group panel, cocreating our vision and purpose document as a cornerstone to building meaningful dialogue.

These patient voices are central to each individual project with our PPI champions already taking on active roles as each stage develops. Their collaboration and involvement is apparent in protocol progression, patient information development and website accessibility. As scholars we are developing specific PPI capacity and competencies in the area of stroke which will benefit the wider project and research community.

To evaluate the impact of PPI in our research we plan to conduct regular review of our experiences, explore the experiences of our PPI panel and evaluate the impact. This will be fed back in experience-based consultations and design workshops, articles, blogs and presentations for national and international dissemination. Knowledge gaps and future priorities for PPI in stroke research will be identified.