Purpose: Functional improvement after stroke has been related to the intensity of treatment. The present study was set up to observe how stroke patients spend their time in a rehabilitation unit.
Method: Behavioural mapping was performed throughout a full working day in a Belgian and Swiss stroke unit.
Results: Patients were most frequently involved in therapeutic activities, 28% of the day in Belgium and 45% in Switzerland. Physiotherapy accounted for the majority of the therapy time. The Belgian patients spent 27% of the day in their own room and Swiss patients 49% of the day. The most striking finding was that the Swiss patients spent nearly 1.5 hours per day more in therapy.
Conclusions: Differences between the two settings could only partially be explained by more favourable patient-staff ratios in the Swiss setting. Autonomous practice, group therapy sessions and family involvement have to also be considered.