The influence of depression, social activity, and family stress on functional outcome after stroke.
This study was designed to assess the quality of life after an active poststroke period of rehabilitation and to investigate the possibility of a return to a working environment for those still of working age.
The study was conducted on 180 consecutive patients affected by stroke who were hospitalized for the first time and discharged at least 1 year before the study. The group consisted of 65% men and 35% women with a mean age 65.29 years (SD, 11.22). The period between the stroke and the interview ranged from 12 to 196 months, with a mean of 37.5 months. The average Rankin score on discharge from the rehabilitation center was 2.718 (moderate handicap). The interview took place at home after consent obtained by telephone. The questionnaire included general and personal information regarding the individuals, their socioeconomic position, and scales for daily activity, depression, social activity, and stress produced in the family. The control group consisted of 167 age-matched subjects.
A close correlation was observed in all patients between depression, social activity, and stress caused to relatives. The scores on the individual scales were clearly worse than those for control subjects. The patients received approximately 5 months of rehabilitation after the stroke. Differences emerged between men and women for depression and social activities, with the women scoring worse. In reference to daily life, 70% of prestroke ability was required on average after rehabilitation. The daily activity score at the time of the interview was also strongly influenced by the discharge score. The majority of patients were retired. Of the total, 20.64% returned to work, but not always to the same job and often after readapting to new conditions. Of this population, only 31.5% were women. With regard to the population aged younger than 65 years, 21.42% returned to work. Lesions in the dominant hemisphere do not necessarily seem to rule out return to work, even if associated with aphasia. The main discriminating element was the ability to understand language. The patients were often criticized by their cohabitants; the criticisms most often raised concerned apathy, irritability, and self-centeredness. Sexual activity was depressed in almost all cases.
Despite the progress made in studying cerebral vasculopathies, patients in the aftermath of a stroke still seem to live unsatisfactorily, as they did many years ago. Useful measures include valid treatment against spasticity, psychological assistance, and greater social support.
- Copyright © 1993 by American Heart Association