Introduction/Hypothesis: Caregiver training and education plays an important role throughout the post-stroke recovery continuum. The comfort level and competence of these caregivers in providing the support and assistance necessary is often the determining factor for a stroke survivor’s ability to return to their community dwelling. In this study, we hypothesized that a comprehensive, multidisciplinary caregiver education and training (Care Partner) program would improve functional outcomes and discharge to community outcomes of stroke patients at an acute inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF).
Methods: The Care Partner program was established as a comprehensive multidisciplinary training and education program for stroke patients and their caregivers at an IRF. Data was collected for patient’s discharge destination, case mix index (CMI), and functional improvements according to the FIM (Functional Independence Measure) and compared to facility, regional, and national benchmarks.
Results: In 2016, 41 out of 252 total stroke patients participated in the Care Partner program. The participant discharge to community rate was 87%, which is higher than facility (67.8%), regional (60.4%), and national (64.6%) levels of stroke patient populations. Additionally, the FIM change per stay for participants was 33.04 as compared to facility (27.65), regional (24.73) and national (23.84). The participant FIM change per stay is significantly higher, which equates to a higher functional level upon discharge. The CMI for participants was 2.02 as compared to the facility (1.64), regional (1.63), and national (1.54), which denotes a much greater burden of care. However, even with a greater care burden, the participants in the PSHR Care Partner program had better quality outcomes when compared to the non-participants.
Conclusion: The Care Partner program improves a stroke survivor’s ability to return to their community dwelling with greater functional independence when being discharged from an IRF.