Background: Recovery after acute stroke is expected to continue for a long time but is most rapid during the first few days after onset. Because the cost of hospital care is rising constantly, there is increasing pressure from various administrative bodies to reduce the duration of hospital stay. To select the optimal level of care for elderly patients with stroke-related disability, it is important to be aware of adequate discharge destinations and to have reliable predictors for the length of institutional stay (LOS) (ie in hospital or nursing home).
Purpose: The purpose of the study was to find feasible prognostic indicators for the LOS, to be used 5 days after acute stroke, in persons 65 years and older.
Methods: One hundred fifteen consecutive persons, 65 years and older, were assessed 5 days poststroke for the following: consciousness (Glasgow Coma Scale), language (aphasia/no aphasia), perceptual (Cancellation Tasks and Block Test), emotional (lability/no lability), energy and drive (Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Scale), mental (Mini-Mental State Examination), somatosensory (normal/impaired), and urinary (continent/incontinent) functions; mobility (Rivermead mobility index [RMI]); activities of daily living (Barthel Index); and side of hemiplegia or hemiparesis. In addition, previous living arrangements (alone vs with another person), stroke characteristics, and demographic information were documented. Length of institutional stay was recorded 5 days to 3 months poststroke onset.
Results: Multiple regression survival analyses showed that the factors with the greatest positive impact on short LOS, 5 days poststroke, were the following: no previous stroke; Glasgow Coma Scale ≥ 13 (mild brain injury); and RMI ≥ 4 points, corresponding to the ability to rise from a chair in less than 15 seconds and stand there for 15 seconds with or without an aid.
Conclusions: In addition to medical appraisal, the RMI ≥ 4 points, a quickly performed test, can be used to predict short LOS for persons with stroke as early as 5 days after stroke onset.