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J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2012 Sep;13(7):634-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2012.05.008. Epub 2012 Jun 16.

Institutionalized stroke patients: status of functioning of an under researched population.

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Department of General Practice and Elderly Care Medicine and EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Van der Boechorststraat 7, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



In view of the development of an integrated care and treatment program for institutionalized stroke patients tailored to their needs, we aimed to explore their status of functioning in the physical, cognitive, emotional, communicative and social domains. In addition, we explored the relation between status of functioning and stroke characteristics.


A cross-sectional, observational study.


Dutch nursing homes (NHs).


Residents with stroke as main diagnosis for NH-admission, who experienced a stroke ≥3 months ago and stayed ≥1 month in a long term care ward.


Attending physicians provided information about stroke subtype, stroke location and time post-stroke. Status of functioning was measured through an observation list comprising the Barthel Index, the Neuropsychiatric Inventory Questionnaire, and sections of the Resident Assessment Instrument for Long-Term Care Facilities. The list was filled out in a structured interview with a qualified nurse assistant who knew the resident well.


We included 274 residents (mean age 76.6, 58.4% female). The stroke that caused NH-dependency was in 81.3% ischemic, and in 49.8% right-sided. Median time post-stroke was 47 months; 90.9% of the residents were severely dependent in basic activities of daily living and 58% were in pain. Nearly half of the residents showed moderate (24.4%) or severe (23%) cognitive impairment. Irritability (52.9%), depressive symptoms (52.6%) and apathy (34.3%) occurred as the most frequent neuropsychiatric symptoms; 27.7% had a poor ability to express themselves and 30.3% had a low social engagement. We found more severe cognitive impairment, agitation/aggression and poor expression in left-sided strokes, more nighttime behavioral disturbances and delusions in right-sided strokes, and lower social engagement in residents with the largest time-interval post-stroke.


This study among institutionalized stroke patients in Dutch NHs revealed very high prevalence of impairments on all domains of functioning, above the well-known severe disabilities in basic activities of daily living. The monitoring and management of both pain and neuropsychiatric symptoms should be key elements in an integrated care and treatment program.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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