Stroke Rehabilitation Research

Image of Najla AlHashil

Najla AlHashil

PhD Candidate,



Najla worked as a Physical Therapist in the King Fahd Educational Hospital University of Imam Abdurrahman Bin Faisal University after graduating from King Saud University, Riyadh in 2005. As a clinician in the Physical Therapy Department, she has a wide range of experience in treating and diagnosing stroke patients in both the inpatient and outpatient setting within Saudi Arabia.

She has been supported by the University of Imam Abdurrahman Bin Faisal through the Saudi Government Embassy bureau to study towards higher education since 2011.

She has been awarded her degree in Master of Rehabilitation Exercises, from the School of Sport, Health and Exercises Sciences at the University of Bangor in Wales (UK) since 2013 April.

In April 2016 Najla commenced her PhD at the University of Nottingham based in the Division of Rehabilitation and Ageing in Medical School, Exploring the Use of Mental Imagery in Stroke.

Expertise Summary

Senior clinical physical therapist in King Fahd Hospital Educational, in the University of Imam Abdurrahman Bin Faisal, KSA.

Specialism in rehabilitation exercises programmes designing.

CMEC lead for internship and summer enrolment in physical therapy department in King Fahd Hospital Educational.

Research Summary


Delphi survey

Project Title

The Use of Mental Imagery in Stroke Rehabilitation: A Delphi Survey

Project aim

The Delphi study aims to determine experts' opinions on the use of Mental Imagery (MI) in stroke rehabilitation.

In particular, we want to know whatattributes stroke survivors must possess to be able to engage with mental imagery within the context of rehabilitation and what knowledge and skills are needed on the part of the therapist to deliver it and what factors facilitate its use.

We hope the findings will lead to recommendations for the use of MI in stroke rehabilitation clinical practice.


Mental imagery is the experience of creating motor images in the mind using different senses (e.g., visualising yourself picking up a cup and feeling the cup while grasping it).

Although a previous systematic review suggested that MI is safe, cost-effective and feasible to use at home without supervision, there is still lack of evidence on how best to implement it in clinical practice, the skills and training required by therapists who wish to use it in practice, and what attributes stroke survivors must have in order to benefit?

Design and methods

We aim to carry out a Delphi survey involving a panel of national and international experts including researchers who have published papers on the use of MI in stroke rehabilitation and health care professions who use or instructed others in the use of MI in stroke rehabilitation in clinical practice. The will be conducted over three to four months and involve several rounds to help reach consensus regarding best practice recommendations for the use of MI in clinical practice.

This project is part of a PhD 'mental imagery use in stroke rehabilitation in Saudi Arabia' by PhD student Najla Alhashil, supervised by Dr Kate Radfordand Dr Eirini Kontou:


It is funded through a PhD scholarship from the University of Imam Abdurrahman Bin Faisal (University of Dammam), Kingdome of Saudi Arabia.

Past Research

Najla is supervised by both Dr Kate Radford an associated professor and deputy head of the Division of Rehabilitation and Ageing in the University of Nottingham and Dr Eirini Kontou Senior Research Fellow, qualified clinical psychologist:

Najla's current PhD project work encompasses of these studies to help answer her research question of her PhD project.

The first part of her PhD was a systematic review of the literature to help investigate the effect of Mental Imagery (MI) practice, as enhanced by task-oriented training, on stroke rehabilitation outcomes. It aimed to help identify all relevant available information about MI use delivered in stroke rehabilitation to enhance rehabilitation after stroke. Part one of this project helped inform the research directions on how to design the second part of this research.

The second part is a mixed-method study to exploring clinicians', therapists' and patients' experience of MI on stroke rehabilitation, The first phase (qualitative) involved data collection from therapists focus groups discussions and stroke survivors interviewees (one-to-one) in Saudi Arabia.

A planed second (quantitative) phase, will involve a Delphi survey to establish expert opinions consensus on the use of MI in stroke rehabilitation. The expertcan be a researcher of published MI trials or professionals who use MI with stroke survivors worldwide. The study will determine the best practice guidelines of MI use in stroke rehabilitation. Additionally, identifying recommendations for the use of MI in stroke rehabilitation in Saudi Arabia and determine attributes of stroke survivors needed to engage in MI, and explore what other factors and equipment might facilitate delivery of MI in stroke rehabilitation.

Stroke Rehabilitation Research

The University of Nottingham
School of Medicine

telephone: +44 (0) 115 823 0246