Rehabilitation after stroke with focus on early supported discharge and post-stroke fatigue
Abstract: Background Stroke is a major cause of disability worldwide. After treatment in a specialized stroke unit, early supported discharge (ESD) followed by home rehabilitation has shown to be an effective way to improve patient outcome and quality of care for persons with mild to moderate stroke. ESD service is recommended in the national and international guidelines for stroke care, but has only partially been implemented in Sweden. Following stroke, fatigue is a common consequence that often becomes more evident when the patient comes home. Currently, there is insufficient evidence about how to measure, treat and handle post-stroke fatigue. The overall aim of this thesis was to evaluate and implement early supported discharge (ESD) based on stroke patients experience after discharge from the stroke unit and local conditions. The aim was also to evaluate post-stroke fatigue with a potentially valid and reliable scale and finally to prepare for a study to evaluate cardiorespiratory training as a part of ESD service for patients with post-stroke fatigue.Methods In paper I, nine strategically chosen patients were interviewed of their experience of falling ill, the hospital stay, discharge, contact with health care after discharge and their request of support. Papers II-III describe and evaluate the development, content, implementation and effects of a locally adopted method for early supported discharge (Umeå Stroke Center ESD) in modern stroke care. Paper II included 153 consecutive patients and paper III, 30 232 patients with first-ever stroke registered in the Riksstroke registry in Sweden. Paper II evaluated number of patients/year, clinical and functional health status, satisfaction in relation to needs, accidental falls/other injuries and resources with the result summarized in a value compass. The implementation process was evaluated retrospectively by means of Consolidated Framework for Implementation (CFIR). Paper III evaluated patient reported outcome measurements (PROMs) at 3 months. The primary outcome in paper III was satisfaction with the rehabilitation after discharge. Secondary outcomes were information about stroke provided, tiredness/fatigue, pain, dysthymia/depression, general health status and dependence in activities of daily living (mobility, toilet hygiene and dressing). Multivariable logistic regression models for each PROM was used to analyze associations between PROMs and ESD/no ESD. In Paper IV, the Fatigue Assessment scale (FAS) was translated into Swedish and evaluated regarding psychometric properties when self-administered by persons with mild to moderate stroke. 72 consecutively patients selected from the stroke unit admission register received a letter including three questionnaires: the FAS, the Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) subscale for vitality and the Geriatric Depression Scale GDS-15. A second letter with FAS was sent within 2 weeks, for re-test evaluation. Paper V is a study protocol for a planned randomized controlled trial (RCT) of 50 consecutive stroke patients will who receive stroke unit care followed by ESD-service at Umeå Stroke Center, University Hospital, Umeå, Sweden. Paper V will investigate if a structured cardiorespiratory interval training program (CITP) added to the ESD-service may result in relieved post-stroke fatigue and increased oxygen uptake.Results The interviews in Paper I revealed three main categories with subcategories: “Responsible and implicated”, “Depersonalized object for caring measures” and “The striving for repersonalization and autonomy”. The findings indicate that coming home gave the informants’ important insights and understanding of the stroke, its consequences and was also an important factor for the recovery. Paper II-III showed that it is possible to develop and implement an adapted ESD service for stroke patients based on the patients’ experiences and requests, evidence-based recommendations and local conditions. The ESD service reduced dependence of activity, increased mobility with seemingly no increased risk of accidental falls or other injuries. The patient satisfaction in relation to needs regarding the ESD was high. Paper III showed that patients that received ESD were more satisfied with rehabilitation after discharge, had less need for assistance with ADL and less dysthymia/depression compared to patients that did not receive ESD. Study IV showed that the Swedish FAS used at home as a selfadministered questionnaire is a reliable and valid questionnaire for measuring fatigue in persons with mild to moderate stroke. The internal consistency was good, the agreement between the test and retest reliability for individual items (weighted kappa) was for the majority of items good or moderate. The relative reliability for total scores was good and the absolute reliability was 9 points. The Swedish FAS had no floor nor ceiling effects and correlated both with the SF-36, subscale for vitality and the GDS-15 indicating convergent construct validity, but not divergent construct validity.Conclusion It is possible to develop and implement ESD care for stroke patients based on patients’ experience and needs, evidence-based principles and local conditions. Early supported discharge (ESD) in the setting of modern stroke unit care appears to have positive effects on rehabilitation in the subacute phase. The Swedish FAS used at home as a self-administered questionnaire is reliable and valid for measuring fatigue in persons with mild to moderate stroke.
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