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Demographic and stroke-related factors as predictors of quality of acute stroke care provided by allied health professionals

Authors Luker J, Bernhardt J, Grimmer-Somers K

Published 22 July 2011 Volume 2011:4 Pages 247—259


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Julie A Luker1, Julie Bernhardt2,3, Karen A Grimmer-Somers1
1International Centre for Allied Health Evidence, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia; 2School of Physiotherapy, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; 3Stroke Division, Florey Neurosciences Institute, Heidelberg Heights, Victoria, Australia

Background: We recently indicated that patient age on its own is not a determinant of quality of allied health care received after an acute stroke. It has not been tested whether other non-age variables influence care decisions made by allied health professionals. This paper explores demographic and stroke-related variables that are putatively associated with the quality of care provided to acute stroke patients by allied health professionals.
Methods: Data were retrospectively audited from 300 acute stroke patient records regarding allied health care. Compliance with each of 20 indicators of allied health care quality was established. The influence of various demographic and stroke-related variables on each performance indicator was examined. We undertook a series of analyses using univariate logistic regression models to establish the influence of these variables on care quality.
Results: Patient age had a significant correlation with only one process indicator (early mobilization). Seven variables, including stroke severity and level of dependence, were associated with patient age. The majority of these age proxies had significant associations with process indicator compliance. Correlations between non-age variables, in particular stroke severity and comorbidity, suggest the potential for complex confounding relationships between non-age variables and quality of allied health care.
Conclusion: Compliance with individual indicators of allied health care was significantly associated with variables other than patient age, and included stroke severity, previous independence, comorbidities, day of admission, stroke unit admission, and length of stay. The inter-relationships between these non-age variables suggest that their influence on quality of care is complex.

Keywords: predictor variables, stroke severity, allied health care, comorbidity levels

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