Too many stroke patients miss out on the window to regain crucial functions
Study shows inpatient rehabilitation could help 40 per cent, but only 16 per cent get access
VANCOUVER─ Too many stroke patients in Canada are not getting the rehabilitation they need to return to a healthy, active life, according to a new study. The research findings strongly suggest that such decisions are being made based on what services are available in the health system rather than what patients really need.
It found that overall just 16 per cent of patients with stroke were discharged to inpatient rehabilitation but that the rates varied widely by province (1% to 26%) and hospital (0% to 48%).
Meanwhile, some of the people who do get rehabilitation don’t need it. And those who do get rehabilitation don’t always get the right amount of services.
Stroke experts agree that about 40 per cent of stroke patients would benefit from rehabilitation which takes place in a specialized rehabilitation unit where patients stay for one to several weeks following discharge from acute care.
The study examined the database of hospital discharge information maintained by the Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI), focusing on the nearly 60,000 stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA or mini stroke) patients discharged from Canadian hospitals over a two-year period ending in March 2013.
Stroke’s impact by the numbers
- 62,000 strokes occur in Canada each year – one every nine minutes.
- 315,000 Canadians are living with the effects of stroke.
- 60 per cent of people who have a stroke report that they need help afterwards.
- Stroke costs the Canadian economy $3.6 billion a year.
- Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability among adults.