Change in Activities of Daily Living in the Year Following a Stroke: A Latent Growth Curve Analysis

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BackgroundEarly prediction of future functional capability is crucial for stroke survivors’ care management.ObjectivesThe purposes of this study were to test the trajectory of change across time in activities of daily living (ADLs) and to determine whether the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score within 24 hours poststroke, gender, and age predict ADLs at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months poststroke.MethodsA prospective cohort design was used. Baseline characteristics and neurological deficits were measured in 1,021 stroke survivors. The 13-item NIHSS was used to examine neurological status within 24 hours poststroke. ADLs were measured with the Barthel index at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months poststroke. A latent growth curve model was used to analyze how the dynamic changes in ADLs were related to NIHSS score, gender, and age.ResultsThe latent growth curve model analyses revealed that, as the time following a stroke increases, survivors tend to gradually improve with regard to ADLs. In addition, lower levels of initial ADLs were associated with higher growth in ADLs over time. However, after 6 months poststroke, further gains in ADLs slowed. Based on further analysis, the findings indicate that a lower NIHSS score, being male, and a young age at time of stroke were associated with higher initial levels of ADLs. Having a higher NIHSS score, being female, and a young age at time of stroke predicted an increase in ADLs over time.DiscussionTo promote ADLs of stroke patients, NIHSS score at admission, gender, and age should be included as important predictors of stroke care management. The results highlight that the rehabilitation of stroke patients should be focused more on ADLs at 1–6 months poststroke.

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