The national sentinel audit for stroke: a tool for raising standards of care

J R Coll Physicians Lond. 1999 Sep-Oct;33(5):460-4.


Study objective: To assess the quality of inpatient care and follow-up for stroke in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Design: Retrospective audit of case notes and service organisation.

Setting: 197 trust (80% of eligible trusts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland).

Patients: 6,894 consecutive stroke patients admitted between 1 January 1998 and 31 March 1998 (up to 40 per trust). AUDIT TOOL: The Intercollegiate Stroke Audit.

Results: Most patients were admitted to acute hospitals with access to the appropriate acute investigations and treatments. Only 64% of trusts had a physician with responsibility for stroke and only 50% had a stroke team. Involvement of different members of the multidisciplinary team within appropriate time-frames varied from 37% to 61%. Assessment of impairments specific to stroke was inadequate (screening for swallowing disorders in only 55%, cognitive function tests in 23% and visual field examination in 44%). Rehabilitation goals were agreed by the multidisciplinary team in only 55% of eligible cases. 41% of patients were contacted by their GP within 3 days of discharge. The best compliance with standards was achieved for the 18% of patients who spent at least 50% of their time in a stroke unit.

Conclusions: This national audit demonstrates that care is suboptimal in many areas, and that there is wide variation in standards for the management of stroke across the country. This may have implications for clinical governance.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aftercare
  • Diagnosis-Related Groups
  • England
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Humans
  • Medical Audit*
  • Northern Ireland
  • Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stroke Rehabilitation
  • Stroke* / diagnosis
  • Stroke* / therapy
  • Wales