A new study to be presented at the Canadian Stroke Congress reveals that too many stroke patients in Canada are not receiving the rehabilitation needed to return to a healthy, active lifestyle. According to a Science Daily news report, the research findings suggest that such decisions are being made based on what services are available in the health system rather than what patients need. The study examined the database of hospital discharge information maintained by the Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI), focusing on the nearly 60,000 stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) patients discharged from Canadian hospitals.

The hospital discharge information was from a 2-year period ending in March 2013. The results of the study showed that 16% of patients with stroke were discharged to inpatient rehabilitation but the rates greatly varied by province (1% to 26%) as well as hospital (0% to 48%), according to the Science Daily news report. In addition, some of the patients who do get rehabilitation don’t need it and those who do get rehabilitation do not always receive the right amount of services.

Michael Hill, MD, MSc, FRCPC, one of the authors of the study, says, “The study suggests there are a large number of Canadian stroke patients who are not getting the help they need at hospital discharge to get back to an active life.” Hill adds, “We found that access to and the use of inpatient rehabilitation after stroke is highly variable, so variable that it likely depends upon practice patterns and resources, rather than patient disability and needs.”

Hill explains that the hospital discharge data is important because it is essential for stroke patients to get rehabilitation promptly after stroke. Hill states, “There is a window when rehabilitation after stroke is maximally effective. We need to pay attention to getting people help within this window — before the opportunity for improvement has decreased — if we want to get people back to being as fully functioning as possible in their daily activities and jobs.”

Source: Science Daily