Changes and predictors of psychological stress among elderly stroke survivors 6 months after hospital discharge

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The aim of this study was to analyse the changes in psychological stress and identify its basal predictors among elderly stroke survivors after 6 months following discharge from hospital to home directly, rather than to a rehabilitation facility. The sample comprised 50 elderly stroke survivors. Data were collected at 2 weeks (T1), at 3 months (T2), and at 6 months (T3) after hospital discharge. The following instruments were applied: Perceived Stress Scale—10 items (PSS-10), National Institute of Health Stroke Scale, Functional Independence Measure, and Geriatric Depression Scale—15 items. Study records indicated that the age of the study participants ranged from 60 to 87 years old (mean = 70.3; standard deviation = 7.6). The number of male and female participants was similar. The PSS-10 score decreased almost 6 points between T1 (mean = 15.1) and T3 (mean = 9.7; p < .001). Both Functional Independence Measure (p = .025) and Geriatric Depression Scale-15 (p = .017) scores at T1 predicted the PSS-10 score at T3. The study thus demonstrated that elderly stroke survivors experienced significant stress after hospital discharge, which tended to improve over the next 6 months. Depression and lower functional independence 2 weeks after discharge were predictors of a greater level of psychological stress at 6 months following discharge.

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