A Model for Management of Patients With Stroke During the Acute Phase: Outcome and Economic Implications

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Abstract

Background and Purpose

The purpose of the study was to develop a clinical pathway for patients with nonhemorrhagic stroke during the acute hospital phase to improve the quality of care and reduce costs.

Methods

The pathway included standard admission orders and a swallow screen on day 1 of hospitalization. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and social worker assessments were done on day 2. A physiatry consult was performed on day 3 if indicated, and by day 4 a discharge target date and disposition were addressed.

Results

Outcomes for 121 patients during the first year of pathway implementation are reported. The average length of stay on the acute service decreased from 10.9 days to 7.3 days (P<.05), reducing the charges per patient by 14.6%. Complications in the form of urinary tract infections and aspiration pneumonia rates decreased by 63.2% (P<.05) and 38.7%, respectively.

Conclusions

We conclude that the implementation of a clinical pathway for patients with acute, nonhemorrhagic stroke resulted in a significant reduction in length of stay, charges, and complications while improving the quality of care.

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