Rapid evidence assessment of approaches to community neurological nursing care for people with neurological conditions post-discharge from acute care hospital

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Neurological conditions represent leading causes of non-fatal burden of disease that will consume a large proportion of projected healthcare expenditure. Inconsistent access to integrated healthcare and other services for people with long-term neurological conditions stresses acute care services. The purpose of this rapid evidence assessment, conducted February–June 2016, was to review the evidence supporting community neurological nursing approaches for patients with neurological conditions post-discharge from acute care hospitals. CINAHL Plus with Full Text and MEDLINE were searched for English-language studies published January 2000 to June 2016. Data were extracted using a purpose-designed protocol. Studies describing community neurological nursing care services post-discharge for adults with stroke, dementia, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis or motor neurone disease were included and their quality was assessed. Two qualitative and three quantitative studies were reviewed. Two themes were identified in the narrative summary of findings: (i) continuity of care and self-management and (ii) variable impact on clinical or impairment outcomes. There was low quality evidence of patient satisfaction, improved patient social activity, depression scores, stroke knowledge and lifestyle modification associated with post-discharge care by neurological nurses as an intervention. There were few studies and weak evidence supporting the use of neurology-generalist nurses to promote continuity of care for people with long-term or progressive, long-term neurological conditions post-discharge from acute care hospital. Further research is needed to provide role clarity to facilitate comparative studies and evaluations of the effectiveness of community neurological nursing models of care.

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