OBJECTIVE To compare the provision of health and social services between a social work intervention and non-intervention group. DESIGN Depressed stroke patients were randomly assigned to either an intervention or non-intervention group. Over a 4 month period both groups were visited three times by an independent assessor who rated them on service provision and functional independence. SETTING Patients' homes. PATIENTS 44 depressed stroke patients. INTERVENTION Both groups were given an information booklet and the intervention group were then visited regularly by a research social worker over a period of 4 months. The social worker adopted a pragmatic approach which included providing counselling and information on services and benefits. MAIN RESULTS The study groups did not differ in level of social independence (p greater than 0.05) or total number of financial benefits (p greater than 0.05), services (p greater than 0.05) or aids (p greater than 0.05) received either before or after intervention. When the results from the two groups were combined, home help and meals-on-wheels were the most frequently provided services (25% of patients). Walking aids (72% of patients) and bath aids (59% of patients) were the most frequently provided aids to daily living. CONCLUSION Social work assistance had little effect on service provision or level of functional independence.
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