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The aftermath of rehabilitation for patients with severe stroke

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Nolfe G, D'Aniello AM, Muscherà R, Giaquinto S. The aftermath of rehabilitation for patients with severe stroke.

Acta Neurol Scand 2003; 107: 281–284. © Blackwell Munksgaard 2003. Objective –

The study evaluates the aftermath of stroke in patients with very severe disability after their first ever stroke and dismissed after rehabilitation. Materials and methods –

Sixty-nine inpatients were studied, who were highly disabled at discharge with a Functional Independence Measure (FIM) score in the range of 18–39. Their rehabilitation program had lasted 60 days. The degree of functional independence was measured by means of the FIM at the beginning of treatment, at discharge and at follow-up. The data collected were examined by using parametric and distribution-free statistical methods. The role of age in the process of recovery was also evaluated. Results –

All patients were discharged home after 2 months. At 6 month follow-up, 15 patients (21.7%) were lost, 27 (39.1%) had died and 27 (39.1%) lived at home. Among stroke survivors a clear trend toward an improvement was detected during the 6 months observation period. Indeed, the third quartile changed from 33 to 63 and a patient approached to independence (FIM 87). None underwent a rehabilitation program at home beside the relatives' assistance. Conclusions –

Highly disabled stroke patients are probably to undergo unfavourable outcome but unexpected recovery cannot be ruled-out on the basis of cut-off parameters measured after the acute phase of stroke. Multivariate statistical methods can identify factors which can interfere with functional recovery but are error-prone in setting individual prognosis. Moreover the recovery process may develop in a long period of time. Taking into consideration the spontaneous recovery observed during the follow-up period after the dismissal from rehabilitation ward, a suitable rehabilitation at home might be fruitful in these patients, who should not be considered as “lost”.
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Keywords: rehabilitation; severe stroke; unexpected functional recovery

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Istituto di Cibernetica “E.R. Caianiello”– CNR, Pozzuoli (Na), Italy; 2: Casa di Cura Santa Maria del Pozzo, Somma Vesuviana (Na), Italy; 3: Casa di Cura San Raffaele Pisana, Rome, Italy

Publication date: 2003-04-01

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