Objectives: To study social factors and outcomes in stroke rehabilitation patients under the age of 50.
Study design: Retrospective chart review examining (1) martial status and employment status on admission and at 3 months post discharge, (2) discharge destination, (3) the presence of absence of children under the age of 16, and (4) psychosocial difficulties as recorded by staff during hospitalization.
Subjects and setting: Eighty-three consecutive stroke patients under the age of 50 admitted to a Canadian tertiary-care hospital rehabilitation unit.
Main outcome measures: Discharge destination and primary caregiver at discharge, and return to work and marital separation 3 months after rehabilitation discharge.
Results: Of the 55 patients with spouses, 8 (14.5%) separated within 3 months of hospital discharge. Fifteen of the 83 patients (18.1%) were not able to return to their premorbid place of residence; 4 (4.8%) required institutionalization. Of the 64 patients employed outside the home or studying at the time of their stroke, only 13 (20.3%) were able to return to work within 3 months of their discharge to home. Only 9.4% of those working full-time were able to return to full-time employment.
Conclusions: Rehabilitation of young stroke patients is associated with a variety of social problems, including marital breakup, child care responsibilities, and return to employment, which are uniquely important in this age group.