Stroke Unit Care Combined With Early Supported Discharge Improves 5-Year Outcome
A Randomized Controlled Trial
Background and Purpose—Early supported discharge (ESD) seems to be a promising alternative to conventional follow-up care after acute stroke. We have previously shown that stroke unit care combined with ESD has beneficial effects on functional outcome and the use of resources for up to 1 year. The aim of this trial was to evaluate outcome after 5 years.
Methods—We performed a randomized controlled trial with 320 acute stroke patients allocated to ordinary stroke unit care (160 patients) or stroke unit care with ESD (160 patients). The ESD service consisted of a mobile team that co-coordinated hospital discharge and further rehabilitation during 1 month of follow-up in cooperation with the primary health care. Mortality, residence, and functional outcome including modified Rankin scale were registered after 5 years. All assessments were blinded.
Results—There was no difference between the groups with modified Rankin scale score ≤2 (P=0.213), but there was a trend toward greater improvement in modified Rankin scale score in the ESD group from onset of stroke (38% versus 30%; P=0.106). More patients were dead or institutionalized in the ordinary stroke unit care group (P=0.032); 158 patients were alive, 84 were in ESD, and 74 were in ordinary stroke unit care. Of the 158 patients alive, a greater proportion were living at home in ESD (86%/70%; P=0.019).
Conclusions—Stroke unit care combined with ESD seems to reduce death and institutional care and to improve patients' chances of living at home 5 years after stroke compared to traditional stroke care. There is a trend toward improved functional outcome in the ESD group.
- Received August 30, 2010.
- Accepted December 23, 2010.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.