Access to Rehabilitation at Six Months Post Stroke: A Profile from the Action on Secondary Prevention Interventions and Rehabilitation in Stroke (ASPIRE-S) Study

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Background and Purpose:

Stroke is the third leading cause of death and disability. Few studies have assessed the profile and adequacy of access to rehabilitation services after ischaemic stroke both in the inpatient and community setting. The objectives of the Action on Secondary Prevention Interventions and Rehabilitation in Stroke (ASPIRE-S) study were to assess the disability and rehabilitation profile, adherence with rehabilitation recommendations and needs of patients 6 months following hospital admission for stroke.


A rehabilitation prescription was completed before hospital discharge for each participant, and adherence to this prescription was assessed at 6 months to determine whether patients received their recommended rehabilitation needs.


Two hundred and fifty six patients were recruited to ASPIRE-S. The average age was 69 (SD 12.8). A majority (n = 221, 86%) were referred to the hospital multidisciplinary team, 59% (n = 132) were referred to all services (physiotherapy (PT), occupational therapy (OT), speech and language therapy (SLT)). Fifty-four percent (n = 119) of patients (seen by the multidisciplinary team) were referred for further rehabilitation in the community on discharge. Of these 119 patients, 112 (95%) recalled receiving community rehabilitation services. However, while most (68%) patients were referred for several disciplines (PT, OT, SLT), the most commonly recalled therapy (55%) was from a single discipline. The most commonly recommended frequency of therapy required was on a weekly basis. Sixty-one patients (51%) reported a delay in services, with some still awaiting services at 6 months.


Results from this prospective study revealed that a significant number of patients (57%) did not receive the therapy recommended on discharge. Future initiatives should include the development of policies, which support more effective, equitable multidisciplinary rehabilitation for stroke patients in the community.

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