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Clin Rehabil. 2004 Aug;18(5):580-6.

Acute stroke unit care combined with early supported discharge. Long-term effects on quality of life. A randomized controlled trial.

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Department of Neuroscience and Motion, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.



The aim of the present trial was to compare the effects of an extended stroke unit service (ESUS) with the effects of an ordinary stroke unit service (OSUS) on long-term quality of life (QoL).


One year follow-up of a randomized controlled trial with 320 acute stroke patients allocated either to OSUS (160 patients) or ESUS (160 patients) with early supported discharge and follow-up by a mobile team. The intervention was a mobile team and close co-operation with the primary health care service. All assessments were blinded.


Primary outcome of QoL in this paper was measured by the Nottingham Health Profile (NHP) at 52 weeks. Secondary outcomes measured at 52 weeks were differences between the groups measured by the Frenchay Activity Index, Montgomery-Asberg Depression Scale, Mini-Mental State Score and the Caregivers Strain Index.


The ESUS group had a significantly better QoL (mean score 78.9) assessed by global NHP after one year than the OSUS group (mean score 75.2) (p =0.048). There were no significant differences between the groups in the secondary outcomes, but a trend in favour of ESUS. Caregivers Strain Index showed a mean score of 23.3 in the ESUS group and 22.6 in the OSUS group (p=0.089).


It seems that stroke unit treatment combined with early supported discharge in addition to reducing the length of hospital stay can improve long-term QoL. However, similar trials are necessary to confirm the benefit of this type of service.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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