Can short-term residential care for stroke rehabilitation help to reduce the institutionalization of stroke survivors?
Pui Hing Chau,1 Maria WS Tang,2 Fannie Yeung,2 Tsz Wai Chan,1 Joanna OY Cheng,1 Jean Woo2
1School of Nursing, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China; 2Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China
Background: Stroke survivors may not be receiving optimal rehabilitation as a result of a shortage of hospital resources, and many of them are institutionalized. A rehabilitation program provided in a short-term residential care setting may help to fill the service gap.
Objectives: The primary objectives of this study were, first, to examine whether there were significant differences in terms of rehabilitation outcomes at 1 year after admission to the rehabilitation program (defined as baseline) between those using short-term residential care (intervention group) and those using usual geriatric day hospital care (control group), and, second, to investigate whether lower 1-year institutionalization rates were observed in the intervention group than in the control group.
Participants: 155 stroke survivors who completed at least the first follow-up at 4 months after baseline.
Intervention: The intervention group was stroke survivors using self-financed short-term residential care for stroke rehabilitation. The control group was stroke survivors using the usual care at a public geriatric day hospital.
Measurements: Assessments were conducted by trained research assistants using structured questionnaires at baseline, 4 months, and 1 year after baseline. The primary outcome measures included Modified Barthel Index score, Mini-Mental Status Examination score, and the institutionalization rate.
Results: Cognitive status (as measured by Mini-Mental Status Examination score) of patients in both groups could be maintained from 4 months to 1 year, whereas functional status (as measured by Modified Barthel Index score) of the patients could be further improved after 4 months up to 1 year. Meanwhile, insignificant between-group difference in rehabilitation outcomes was observed. The intervention participants had a significantly lower 1-year institutionalization rate (15.8%) than the control group (25.8%).
Conclusion: Short-term residential care for stroke rehabilitation promoted improvements in rehabilitation outcomes comparable with, if not better than, the usual care at geriatric day hospital. Furthermore, it had a significantly lower 1-year institutionalization rate. This type of service could be promoted to prevent institutionalization.
Keywords: stroke, institutionalization, rehabilitation, residential care, day hospital
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