Community-based care of stroke patients in a rural African setting
AbstractBackground. To develop a community-based model of stroke care, we assessed discharge planning of stroke patients, available resources and continuity of care between hospital and community in a remote rural setting in South Africa. We sought to determine outcomes, family participation and support needs, and implementation of secondary prevention strategies.
Methods. Thirty consecutive stroke patients from the local hospital were assessed clinically (including Barthel index and modified Rankin scores) at time of discharge and re-assessed 3 months after discharge in their homes by a trained field worker using a structured questionnaire.
Results. Two-thirds of all families received no stroke education
before discharge. At discharge, 27 (90%) were either bed- or chair-bound. All patients were discharged into family care as there was no stroke rehabilitation facility available to the community. Of the 30 patients recruited, 20 (66.7%) were alive at 3 months, 9 (30%) had died, and 1 was lost to follow-up. At 3 months, 55% of the remaining cohort were independently mobile compared with 10% at discharge. Of the 20 surviving patients, 13 (65%) were visited by home-based carers. Only 45% reported taking aspirin at 3 months.
Conclusions. The 3-month mortality rate was high. Most survivors improved functionally but were left with significant disability. Measures to improve family education and the level of home-based care can be introduced in a model of stroke care attempting to reduce carer strain and reduce the degree of functional disability in rural stroke patients.
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