Perceptual disorders after stroke InterventiON EvidencE Review (PIONEER): A scoping review and Cochrane Review revision and expansion

January 2020-December 2021

What is perception?

Perception is our ability to make sense of the world around us, by interpreting and understating the information we get from our senses.  One in five stroke survivors will experience difficulties with perception.  These problems can affect vision, hearing, taste, smell and touch and can have a very marked impact on an individual’s everyday life. 

At present there is very limited guidance for clinicians on how best to manage perceptual problems.  We know that treatment can vary hugely across the UK depending on where you live, and that perceptual problems may not be being diagnosed or treated fully.


What is PIONEER?

The PIONEER project aims to identify and summarise all the research conducted on treatments for perceptual problems in people with stroke.  We will use this to determine which treatments work, what gaps there are in the research, and which perceptual problems and treatments should be priorities for future research.

There are three stages in our research:

1. A Scoping review

We will conduct a detailed search to identify ALL relevant research into treatments for perceptual problems after stroke, so we can tell the range, scope, number and type of studies found, and the perceptual problems and treatments investigated.  We will create interactive maps to summarise this information in a way that is easy to understand.

2. Cochrane Systematic Review

Cochrane reviews provide the highest possible quality reviews about the effects of treatments.  We will calculate a “combined” result about treatment benefits in order to identify which treatments are effective. who they are effective for and what this means for current healthcare.

3. Research Priority Setting

Working with our stroke survivors, carers and healthcare professionals we will agree the key clinical implications arising from the results and priorities for future research.


Project team

Dr Christine Hazelton is leading the research activities

Prof Marian Brady is co-lead on the project

Dr Katie Thomson is a PIONEER researcher

Dr Alex Pollock is a PIONEER researcher providing expertise on Cochrane reviews and involving stakeholders

Dr Pauline Campbell is a PIONEER researcher, providing expertise on literature review processes and data mapping

We are also collaborating with researchers and clinicians in NHS Fife, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, NHS Lothian, Keele University and University of Edinburgh.


Project stakeholder team – expertise and experience

Perceptual problems after stroke is a very complex topic.  To make sure our research covers the topic fully, and in a way that is relevant and accessible to those affected we work with four clinical experts (including audiologists and consultant ENT surgeon) and five people who have personal experience of stroke and its impact on perception.


Publications and media

Review protocol: Christine Hazelton, Marian Brady, Pauline Campbell et al. Perceptual disorders after stroke intervention evidence review (PIONEER). PROSPERO 2019 CRD42019160270 Available from:

Project Blog:

Project Twitter: @Pioneer_Stroke



This project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) [NIHR Health Technology Assessment (NIHR 128829].  The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.