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Post‐stroke depression and functional independence: a conundrum

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Brown C, Hasson H, Thyselius V, Almborg A‐H. Post‐stroke depression and functional independence: a conundrum.Acta Neurol Scand: 2012: 126: 45–51.© 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

Objectives –  People who suffer a stroke are at risk of developing post‐stroke depression (PSD). Not only does this lower their quality of life but it also increases their risk of another stroke or death. This study aimed to investigate the factors associated with PSD in order to better direct rehabilitation efforts aimed at cutting the incidence of PSD.

Material and methods –  This study was based on all patients admitted to the stroke unit of a hospital in southern Sweden from 1 October 2003 to 30 November 2005. The total number of patients involved was 181. Measures were collected at 2 ± 1 weeks after discharge from hospital, 3 ± 0.5 months after the occurrence of the stroke and 12 ± 1 months after the occurrence of the stroke. Information collected was results from the Center of Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale and the Barthel Index together with demographic data including age, sex, time since stroke and relationship status.

Results –  Those patients involved in the study were mainly men (58–59%) and generally those either married or cohabiting (53–57%). The age of respondents ranged from 32 to 92 years with a mean age of 74.0 (95%CI 72.37–75.63) at 2 ± 1 weeks after discharge. The Barthel Index scores ranged from 15 to 100 with means of between 88.7 and 91.7. Between 15% and 19% of the group were clinically depressed during the time frame of the study. The Barthel Index, measuring functional independence in terms of need for assistance with personal activities of daily living (P‐ADL), was consistently associated with PSD.

Conclusions –  The differences found in levels of depression between those with lower functional independence after a stroke compared to those more independent in P‐ADL, raise the possibility that attention should be paid to therapeutic rehabilitation for stroke patients to help them recover as much functional independence as possible in order to improve their quality of life and lower their chances of developing PSD.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

Publication date: 2012-07-01

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