Background: Mexican Americans (MAs) have worse neurologic, functional and cognitive outcomes after stroke than non Hispanic whites (NHWs). Stroke rehabilitation is important for outcome. In a population-based study, we sought to determine if allocation of stroke rehabilitation services differed by ethnicity.
Methods: Consecutive stroke patients were identified for a three month time period as part of the Brain Attack Surveillance in Corpus Christi (BASIC) project, Texas, USA. Cases were validated by physicians using source documentation. Patients were followed prospectively for three months following stroke to determine self-reported rehabilitation services. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the study population. Ethnic comparisons of rehabilitation services were made using chi-squared or Fisher’s exact tests.
Results: Seventy-two subjects (50 MA, 22 NHW) were followed. Mean age, NHW-69 (sd-13), MA-66 (sd-11) years, sex (NHW 55% male, MA 50% male) and median presenting NIHSS (NHW-2.5, MA-3.0) did not differ significantly. There were no ethnic differences in the proportion of patients who were discharged home without rehabilitation services (p=0.9). Among those who received rehabilitation (n=48), the figure shows the distribution of the first place for services. NHWs were more likely to be discharged to inpatient rehabilitation (73%) compared with MAs (30%), p=0.016. MAs (51%) were much more likely to be receive home rehabilitation services compared with NHWs (0%) (p=0.0017).
Conclusions: In this population-based study, MAs were more likely to receive home-based rehabilitation while NHWs more likely to get inpatient rehabilitation. This disparity may, in part, explain the worse stroke outcome in MAs.